Newest Signee Cristian Rodriguez to Partake in World Tens Series
The Dallas Jackals are proud to announce Cristian Rodriguez has signed for the 2021 season. Starting October 24th, Cristian will join the Ohio Aviators to represent the USA in the World Tens Series in Bermuda.
Growing up in Hawaiian Gardens, California, a tough, little city in LA County, Cristian was first introduced to the Alternatives to Gang Membership (ATGM) program in elementary school. ATGM’s main mission is to provide an outlet through rugby for at-risk youth. At a young age, Cristian and his friends would watch the older kids and dream of playing like them.
Cristian began playing rugby through ATGM in middle school and continued into his time at Artesia High School. He says, “Rugby was a sport me and my friends played for fun as an extra sport,” but soon it would open up many opportunities for Cristian. Over his four years, his high school team was competitive around Southern California and won many tournaments and championships.
During his senior year in 2015, Cristian was asked to play in a tournament in San Diego. Being that it was late in his senior year, Cristian took the Friday off from school to have fun playing rugby for a day. Cristian caught the attention of the head coach from Lindenwood University who ended up offering him a scholarship from just watching him in one game.
A few months later Cristian was attending and playing rugby at Lindenwood University. Being the first in his family to attend college, he says, “I was given the opportunity to learn and get better while gaining friendships that I’ll cherish for life.” While at Lindenwood, Cristian won three 7s National Championships, two Collegiate Rugby Championships and was a six-time All-American (three-times each for 15s and 7s). On top of these achievements, in 2019 Cristian was the recipient of the Prusmack Award which is awarded to the top male and female 7s players in the US.
During his time in college, Cristian also represented the US in 2017 on the U20 National Team and 2017-2019 on the U23s 15s and 7s side. In 2017, Cristian began playing for the Belmont Shore Rugby Club who he competes with presently.
Although Cristian never considered himself at-risk of getting involved in gangs, he saw the positive impact rugby had on his friends. After graduating from Lindenwood with a degree in Recreation Administration and a Sports Management minor in 2019, Cristian moved back to Hawaiian Gardens to help run and grow ATGM. He looks forward to continuing to mentor youth back home while growing his rugby career in the MLR.
Before joining the Jackals, Cristian will take part in the first ever World Tens Series in Bermuda. The tournament will begin on October 24th and run through November 7th. Learn more about the World Tens Series here.
Cristian says, “I’m most excited to be a Jackal to be a part of a new and exciting team in the MLR.” He continued, “with the progress and initiative the team has taken in the short amount of time we’ve been introduced to the league, it’s exciting to see it moving forward.”
Cristian looks forward to learning from the coaching staff and players, and says “I’ll be looking to soak in all the knowledge to improve as a player and teammate.” Cristian will be moving to Dallas with his fiance Annakaren and their Shar-Pei Gloria. Welcome to the pack Cristian!
About Dallas Jackals —
The Dallas Jackals are a professional rugby team of Major League Rugby (MLR), the highest level of rugby competition in North America. The Jackals were named as an expansion team in 2020 and will play their inaugural season in 2022 at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The team’s central mission is to develop domestic talent to a world-class level of play and professionalism while strengthening the high performance pathway in DFW by supporting the local clubs. Through proactive Community Outreach, the Jackals will exemplify and spread the passion of rugby by inspiring tradition, respect, family, and character on and off the pitch.
About MLR —
Major League Rugby is a professional sports league entering its fourth season and represents the highest level of competition in North America. The League evolved from seven teams in 2018, to 12 teams in 2021, featuring 11 from the United States and one from Canada. The competition follows an 18-week regular schedule for a chance to advance to the playoffs. Matches are televised on CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports 2, ESPN+, Facebook Live (for international viewers) and on different platforms in each local market. MLR prides itself on its incredible athletes, the passionate community behind them, and its strong values of Respect, Inclusivity, and Tradition.
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