Purdon to guide aspiring LA Rugby talent in 2022

7 months ago

Identifying and developing the best teenage players in California is the exciting mission for the LA Giltinis’ new Under-18s Academy coach Charlie Purdon.

Purdon’s own youthful energy as a coach of just 31 will feed into the Giltinis’ plans to find, nurture and inspire the most promising players at this level.

The Giltinis’ commitment to both their own high standards and enriching the wider Los Angeles rugby community strikes the right chord with Purdon.

“I’ve been captivated by the Giltinis from day one, both with the club’s impact on Major League Rugby and how to successfully build a team within the community,” Purdon said.

“From the outside, it was very evident they had people across the organisation who understood the formula of how a team and club is meant to operate.

“I went along to the first Giltinis’ game when fans were allowed back into the stadium in April. Within five minutes, they’d scored three tries (against San Diego Legion). The pitch was incredible, we were in an iconic stadium at the Coliseum and it was just electric in the crowd.”

Purdon’s own experience in rugby flows from his South African roots.

He played for the Natal Under-21s and Edinburgh A before featuring at halfback for the San Diego Breakers in PRO Rugby in 2016. Club stints with Santa Monica and OMBAC also gave him insights into rugby in Southern California.

“Rugby is sitting on a gold mine in terms of Los Angeles being a hotbed for athletic talent." Said Purdon

“That’s no secret. The key is providing opportunities for players to better themselves, that desire to represent LA and identifying potential players who might not even have picked up a rugby ball as yet.

“This is about working with schools and clubs. We’re not pulling players out of clubs but we can polish those with the game, skills and character to go further.”

"Also, we are doing this in a sustainable way, working alongside local foundations, existing Rugby frameworks and local grants, which is the right path forward with any youth and development initiatives.

Purdon has been running Perry Baker Rugby Camps with the American sevens star since 2019 so he already knows how receptive young players are with chances to sharpen their skills.

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