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Legion's Devin Short is a fast-rising star in American rugby

Discussion in 'All Other San Diego Sports' started by SDRay, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. SDRay

    SDRay RIP SD Chargers..F the LA Chargers, Go Irish Staff Member Administrator Podcaster

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    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com...ion-mls-rugby-devin-short-20180621-story.html

    A year ago, Devin Short had a job working with some of his rugby club teammates in warehouse shifts that could last 12 hours.

    The city: Short’s hometown, Las Vegas.

    The time: June, when temperatures were rising well above 100 degrees.

    Air conditioning: None.

    On the way home from one of those exhausting, sweaty workdays, Short checked for messages on his cellphone, and the email from the U.S. Olympic Committee might as well have been in red letters, all caps.

    Short, who had only been playing rugby for two years, was informed that he’d been accepted into the “Next Olympic Hopeful” program that would host 90 athletes in four sports at the training center in Colorado Springs, Colo., in July.

    The camp is the USOC’s effort to overturn stones for that one rock with the geode crystals inside.

    “I got excited. I was shaking,” Short recalled. “I FaceTimed my mom to let her know. It was just an unreal experience.”

    In those moments, the 19-year-old had no idea how much his life would change over the course of the next year.

    Short was the only rugby player from the July camp selected to advance to work with the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center (formerly Olympic Training Center). He was eventually cut, but was picked up by the “B” team USA Falcons for a Sevens South American tour in January.

    His play there led to recommendations that the San Diego Legion look at Short for the squad that would begin in April playing the inaugural season of professional Major League Rugby.

    Short has been a revelation, starting nearly every game at one of the sport’s most critical and fluid positions – openside flanker. His job is to be close to the ball and make hard hits for any change of possession while serving as a threatening runner.

    “He sees the opportunity, and he comes in here every day looking for ways to get better,” Legion head coach Rob Hoadley said. “His attitude is second to none.”

    The Legion (4-3) plays its final regular-season game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Torero Stadium (nationally televised on CBS Sports Network) against the first-place Glendale (Colo.) Raptors (7-0). San Diego has won two straight matches to secure a berth in MLR’s postseason semifinals.

    The final four teams compete June 30 at Glendale’s home site, with the championship match scheduled for July 7 at Torero Stadium.

    The Legion’s chances to play a title game at home didn’t look good when they lost two straight games in May to drop to 2-3, just before their top players were called up to the Eagles for a summer series of international matches.

    But some new signees and younger members of the team banded together to produce two big victories.

    “The group just really came together,” Hoadley said. “We drilled down and simplified the game plan. We asked the guys to work hard for each other. That’s exactly what they’ve done, and Devin epitomized that attitude.”

    Short’s face lights up when he talks about rugby.

    “I just love it,” he said.

    At 6-feet-3, 195 pounds, he was a somewhat undersized offensive guard and defensive end for his high school football team. Short chose Division II Adams State University in Colorado to continue his football career, but he was injured in his freshman season. He left after that.

    “I didn’t have the love or fire for football anymore after playing rugby,” he said.

    A high school friend introduced Short to rugby in his senior year, and by the time he graduated he was playing on the national Under-18 all-star team.

    Hoadley said Short’s progress and quick rise is why professional rugby in this country needs to exist.

    “If he had nowhere to go, we could have lost him to the game,” Hoadley said. “For the kids who come to Torero, they now have a hero to aspire to be.”
     

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