As the league has grown (at what seems to be lighting speed) over the first 2.25 seasons of Major League Rugby, there's no doubt that the professional atmosphere has raised the level of play in the US. But with a professional atmosphere, comes the competitive grind that can often leave young players at a loss if they don't have the right people in their camp.
Our caller Kate from Cheshire, CT asked a simple question:
"Who's Looking Out For The Players?"
We dove in RP style and got in contact with two new groups doing this kind of work (well new..ish, the parties involved have clearly have been planning, organizing and brainstorming their launches for quite a while).
High Performance Management Group
Founders - Matt Hughston, Anthony Parry, Ryan Murphy
This is a young, motivated group of individuals who have seen the American rugby landscape through almost every lens. Hughston and Parry have ground out impressive professional rugby careers with the Aviators and in the MLR. Murph has always had a passion for supporting players by any means necessary, and they all certainly understand what type of hurdles young players will face throughout their entire rugby careers.
They are dedicated to raising the level of rugby in the states, and want to support players as they make their journey through the long windy road of being a professional player. HPM will offer a range of value props to players including access to their player and coaching networks, pursuing endorsements, mental and physical improvement strategies, sorting through team contracts, and most importantly ... helping young players pursue, develop and build a career for life after professional rugby (sadly, it all ends at some point, even for the greatest players).
The Athlete Collective
Founders - Dan Power, Pete Steinberg, James English, Mike Petri, Shalom Suniula
The Athlete Collective is a group of professional with a wide variety of rugby experience and expertise. Led by the dynamic CBS duo Pete Steinberg and Dan Power (I heard they're making a presidential run in 2024), this groups is teeming with vision and their mission boils down to providing a full holistic support system for the players and raising the over-all level of the game in North America.
The Athlete Collective won't be focused on contract negotiations between players and clubs, but Dan touched on some amazing ideas the AC has for the continual development of the players. One unique idea is pooling a portion of the AC's sponsorship revenue into a foundation/trust for players to access after their playing days have ended. The Athlete Collective has decided to make their members equity owners of the organization, so each player in the AC owns a small percentage too. They have some amazing players signed on including a RP favorite, Luke "The Hard Man" White.... (future Giltini?!?)
Enjoy the show, and stay tuned for some summer interviews to be published soon!
ps. bonus scenes include a small explosion in our new garage studio 😱. Be sure to listen all the way through the credits!