Legionnaire #88 Will Hooley announces retirement from professional rugby
Will Hooley to hang up boots with USA Men’s Eagles and Major League Rugby
SAN DIEGO, CA (June 13, 2023) – USA Men’s Eagle Will Hooley announced his retirement from Major League Rugby and the international game today, completing a five-year shift with The USA Men’s National Team. Taking the pitch 20 times with 18 test caps and a selection to the Rugby World Cup 2019 squad, Hooley will hang up his boots after the current MLR season with promising plans to continue representing the sport off the pitch.
"USA Rugby adopted me as one of their own,” said Hooley, “I could not be prouder to represent America and as Eagle #517, knowing my grandmother will be looking down with a huge smile. Wearing the jersey 20 times, earning 18 caps and going to the Rugby World Cup in 2019 are my greatest rugby achievements. Injuries at the wrong times may have got in the way of receiving more caps, but the incredible memories I have both on and off the field, within the USA Rugby environment, will live with me forever.”
A native of Cambridge, England with USA eligibility through his grandmother, Hooley first dipped into international rugby at fly half for England in the 2013 World Junior Championship before beginning his professional career overseas. Through those years, he's made appearances in the European Champions and Challenge Cups with Northampton, Exeter and Saracens; alongside the RFU Championship with Bedford. In 2021, Will would venture to US soil joining the San Diego Legion with Major League Rugby.
Hooley first stepped onto the international pitch with the USA in 2018 for the Americas Rugby Championship in Los Angeles, facing off against Argentina XV. From there, he earned his first official cap during the Eagles' contest with Canada, en route to the team's second consecutive Americas Rugby Championship. A strong presence at flyhalf and fullback, Will would earn selection to the Rugby World Cup roster the following year, playing in three of the four pool matches in Japan.
“From receiving my first cap against Canada to facing the mighty All Blacks in Washington D.C, it’s been a whirlwind of a ride. 2018 has to be a highlight of a year, with beating Scotland being the greatest night of my rugby career. Fast forward to 2019, and my boyhood dream of playing on the world’s greatest stage in Japan became a reality at the Rugby World Cup. Representing the USA has allowed me to travel around the world and play with and against the best. I feel incredibly honored.”
In recent years, Hooley has kept involved and supported the game of rugby as an ambassador in media, guest writing and storytelling the game from a player’s perspective. Post his playing days, Hooley hopes to continue giving back to the game in the same way.
“To all the coaches, physios and staff, I can’t thank you enough for supporting me throughout my international career. To my teammates, you accepted a young man with a funny accent and treated me as your own. The memories we created on and off the field will last a lifetime. To the USA Rugby fans around the world, you are the most passionate and unique I have come across and I can’t thank you enough for your continual support, whatever the outcome and whatever the challenge. Huge things are to come for USA Rugby, and I will continue to support in all the ways I can, as I now aim to transition into the sports media world."
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