The LA Giltinis are delighted to announce Hall of Famer Todd Clever (above) in a new full-time role at the club to build rugby’s reach and strategic partnerships.
The first ideal partnership is with Clever himself which links American rugby’s greatest trailblazer with the Championship-winning club setting new standards for the game in Major League Rugby.
Clever’s official title is Head of Strategic Partnerships and it will have myriad facets to maximise the connections he has built across 15 years as a USA Eagle (2003-17) and a lifetime as a proud member of the Californian rugby community.
The most-capped Eagle (76 Tests) of all-time was feted on Friday night in Las Vegas as one of the 2021 inductees to the US Rugby Hall of Fame.
From grassroots clubs to top corporate figures, Clever will engage in a face-to-face role for the Giltinis. He will advance the Giltinis’ place in US sports as well as foster international relations for global exposure.
“I’m really excited about the scope of this role where I can introduce and educate people about rugby, both in a community sense and put the Giltinis in front of some important, powerful people,” Clever said.
“Rugby is strong in Southern California but we’ve got to work on introducing the game to the millions of other sports lovers and families in LA who don’t know about rugby and its ethos.
“Creating good partnerships will only make rugby stronger. That might be getting involved with inner city programs, supporting struggling teams, coach education, new sponsorships and other areas.
“Rugby has an ethos not limited just to what happens on the field. What rugby stands for puts value into any environment and I live and breathe that.”
Clever, 38, has been active in the role for several months already and is proud that the Giltinis measure growth well beyond just the club getting stronger.
“It’s not just the Giltinis’ headquarters (at El Segundo) but a Rugby HQ with how much the facility is used for coaching clinics, getting coaches and referees certified and so on,” Clever said.
“It was always going to be tough as an expansion team in their first year but the Giltinis did a great job starting with the off-field management, coaching and the team culture that was created.”
Winning the MLR Championship at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 1 put an exclamation mark on everything the go-ahead Giltinis achieved in their historic first season as a club.
“When you are in a meeting with the Dodgers, Lakers and other professional sports teams from LA (at the Los Angeles Sports Council) we are now also coming to the table with experience of winning,” Clever said.
The former Eagles captain played with top clubs in the US, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and England over his career and all the experience he has gathered was a magnet for Giltinis General Manager Adam Freier.
“No one understands the value, potential and people of USA Rugby better than Todd,” Freier said.
“How we engage and nurture the overwhelming support for the MLR and expand the rugby community here in the US is mission critical for us as a sport.
“Todd’s influence in the Californian community and throughout the rugby world will continue to drive our brand from the grassroots here and across the globe.”