Anthem Rugby Carolina announce roster as preseason kicks off in Charlotte

Anthem Rugby Carolina (RC) have confirmed the initial roster for the upcoming 2024 Major League Rugby season, the team’s inaugural year.

With four short weeks until opening night in Charlotte, facing off against reigning MLR Champion New England Free Jacks, each of the 38 players currently in camp will compete for selection to the inaugural match day roster. Going into a highly anticipated seventh season, Major League Rugby fans can expect a first-rate rugby experience from the newest franchise in Carolina. Head Coach Alama Ieremia will begin the home stretch toward kickoff against the New England Free Jacks, Saturday March 2 at 7 pm ET from American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tickets soon to be available with live coverage on The Rugby Network and select matches on FS1 and FS2 with a full schedule to be announced soon.

2024 Anthem Rugby Carolina Player Pool
NAME POSITION PREVIOUS CLUB or DRAFT
Albert O'Shannessey* Flanker Central Wash. Univ. / New York Ironworkers
Cael Hodgeson* Center / Wing NOLA Gold
Caleb Strum* Wing RFC LA
Carson Shoemaker* Flanker / No. 8 Dallas Jackals
Chase Suznevich* Flyhalf/Utility USA Hawks
Cliven Loubser Flyhalf Utah Warriors / Namibia
Connor Robinson* No. 8 New England Free Jacks
Dan Hanson* Prop Chicago Hounds Academy
David Still* Center / Wing USA Sevens
Declan Moore Hooker Ulster Rugby (IRE)
Dylan Fortune* No. 8 Lindenwood Univ. / USA U20s
Ivan Pula* Prop USA Hawks / New England Free Jacks
Jack Manzo* Hooker American Raptors
Jake Turnbull* Prop Seattle Seawolves
James Rivers Lock San Diego Legion
Joe Apikotoa Prop Hawk's Bay (NZL)
Joe Basser* Flanker New York Ironworkers
Josh Shetler* Backrow Univ. of Tennessee
Juan Pen* Prop St. Bonaventure
Junior Gafa* Center New England Free Jacks
Logan Weidner* Lock Old Glory DC
Lucas Gramlick* Lock American Raptors / USA Hawks
Mateo Gadsden* Wing USA Hawks
Michael Maafu* No. 8 San Diego Legion
Mika Felix* Prop Chicago Hounds / USA Falcons
Oscar Koller Flyhalf North Harbour (NZL)
Reagan Leslie Lock Utah Warriors
Rheno Teoni* Scrumhalf USA Hawks / USA U20s
Sean Yacoubian* Scrumhalf Chicago Hounds
Shane Barry* Flyhalf Seattle Seawolves
Shneil Singh Flanker Southland (NZL)
Sione Latu Jr.* Flanker USA Hawks
Stephan Bernal-Wendt* Prop Utah Warriors
Te Rangatira Waitokia Wing / Fullback Toronto Arrows
Tevita Kutu* Flanker USA Hawks / USA U20s
Ty Al-Jiboori* Wing Seattle Seawolves
Ulu Niuputuivaha* Wing USA U23 7s
Braemar Murray* Flanker Toulouse Academy / USA U20s

*USA qualified player

2024 Anthem Coaches and Staff

Alama Ieremia | Head Coach

Neethling Gericke | Forwards

Elvis Seveali'i | Backs and Skills

Matoko Noudehou | Strength & Conditioning

Zach Fournier | Athletic Trainer

Luke Richmond | Analyst

Darran Coleman | Team Manager

Head Coach Ieremia said on the upcoming season, “It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of the first Anthem Rugby Carolina team for the 2024 MLR season, everything has I happened so quickly. There’s been a lot of work behind the scenes to bring this team of management, coaches and players together. We are grateful and extremely excited to showcase our abilities and create something special for the team. Not just for this year, but most importantly, for the future. We are realistic and know it won’t be easy, but we are committed to pushing each other hard and accelerating our learning through the high performance environment here in Charlotte”.

Of the 38 current invites in Charlotte, 31 enter as USA-qualified players looking to step up on the MLR and USA Eagles radar, including a few USA National Team names in Jake Turnbull and David Still. Turnbull debuted for the USA Eagles this past summer, playing in all five of the international matches in 2023. David Still makes his exciting return to rugby, last competing on the HSBC SVNS series with the USA Men’s Sevens. Still’s rise to the top levels of rugby has been electric as he shifts to the fifteens pitch with MLR. Excited to have Still back on the rugby pitch, Men’s Sevens Head Coach Mike Friday collaborated with Anthem RC to bring the sevens star to Charlotte and the opportunity to compete under Ieremia and staff.

Speaking to the new team environment with a fresh-faced roster, Ieremia added, “The most important point for this team is to come together quickly. There are different ability levels and backgrounds which we need to solidify to form our foundation. The season starts very soon and we are creating an identity that is connected to this beautiful city of Charlotte. In addition, the coaches and players are working hard at creating a style of rugby that is exciting to play and also reflects the hard work which each individual is putting forward. We are pumped to be here in Carolina”

10 players from USA Rugby pathways and are named to the player pool, with a few USA U20s names and USA Hawks on the ground in Carolina. Recent draft picks and transfers from across MLR fill out the remaining contracted players for what is expected to be an exciting first season.

USA Rugby COO, Jonathan Atkeison added, "We want to thank the administrators, coaches and players who came together in building this roster for the 2024 season. Brandon Sparks here in support with his MLR general management experience was invaluable and we appreciate the collaboration of each MLR club involved in player support. We have so far seen an incredible response from the Carolina sports community since first announcing the team, and we're thrilled for this group of players to settle in and become great ambassadors of rugby in the Charlotte community."

Anthem RC embraces the concept of rising stars throughout its brand, symbolic of the efforts of the new club to invest and grow American rugby. Inspired by the U.S. national anthem, it also features distinct connections to the Charlotte community by drawing from its rich military heritage and incorporating a recognizable color palette that draws from the smoky tones of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Follow along with Anthem RC on Instagram, Twitter (X), Facebook and at anthemrc.com.

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