USA Eagle, Free Jacks Standout and Community Development Coach, Tadhg Leader Commits to the Free Jacks for the 2021 Major League Rugby Season
BOSTON – August 6, 2020 — Tadhg Leader has confirmed his commitment to the Free Jacks for the 2021 season in Major League Rugby. The Free Jacks are excited to welcome returning fly half and founding player, USA Eagle #532, and community development coach to the squad for the season ahead. Leader has been instrumental in helping develop the burgeoning Free Jacks Academy and Junior Jacks programs, and has coached over 2,500 of the next generation of New England rugby players to date.
“I’m thrilled to be back with the Free Jacks for next season to build on the momentum we’ve generated these past two years” commented Leader. “It’s been an amazing journey since moving to the US five years ago, from being a part of the inception of the Free Jacks, helping to launch the Junior Jacks Academy, and earning the honor of representing the United States as an Eagle. I’m excited to have this opportunity to continue driving the Free Jacks forward on and off the field in the year ahead.”
Leader was instrumental in the Free Jacks first MLR victory against Rugby United New York and in the Cara Cup exhibition season. A key player on the field, Leader sits as the Free Jacks top points scorer with a cumulative 62 points recorded to date. An unfortunate injury in the 60th minute of the opening MLR game this season saw Leader sidelined for the 3 successive matches, before running out again in Free Jacks red, white and blue in the since season finale against New Orleans Gold.
“Tadhg has been an integral part of the Free Jacks community since our first-ever match against Ontario in October of 2018,” commented Tom Kindley, Free Jacks Performance Manager. “A Connacht product, Tadhg is equipped with a diverse skill set, including a trademark right boot, which sees him well suited for the pivotal 10 jersey. Tadhg has also been instrumental in driving our community and academy initiatives across New England. We look forward to seeing our fondly referred to Glaswegian Ginger continue to develop on the field, push for more consistent selection at the International level for the USA, and build on the tremendous grassroots and development programs established in the region.”
Prior to his time with the Free Jacks, Leader represented Ireland at the U19 and U20 levels before making multiple appearances for Connacht A in the British and Irish Cup. Following his standout Irish performance, he moved to Italy to play for club Rugby Badia ASD. In 2015 Leader moved to the United States on a scholarship to play rugby for Lindenwood University in St Louis, Missouri. While there, he represented the United States at the Red Bull World Uni Sevens in 2016 in Bath, England.
In 2018, Leader Captained San Diego Legion in the inaugural Major League Rugby season. Leader finished the season as the team’s top points scorer and led the Legion to an appearance in the first-ever MLR Playoffs before joining the Free Jacks for the team’s exhibition season. In 2019, Leader earned his first cap for the USA National Team as Eagle #532 in the Americas Rugby Championship against Chile. A prominent attacking threat, Leader found his way to the try-line, scoring within moments of his debut.
As a community development coach, Tadhg will continue leading the Free Jacks grassroots and Junior Jacks academy programs. A role model and outstanding coach, Leader will share his passion for the game with the next generation of New England players, and connect with youth, high school, collegiate, and club players and coaches to grow the game at every level. In addition to his work within the Free Jacks initiatives, Leader returns to New England as Head Coach of the South Shore Anchors and Beantown RFC.
“Off the field, I’ve developed a true passion for coaching and I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the Free Jacks Academy alongside coaching the South Shore Anchors and Beantown RFC, two outstanding organizations,” added Leader.
Join Tadhg and the Free Jacks for a virtual meet and greet, “News and Brews” on Thursday, August 13th. Grab a Free Jacks IPA and join the virtual gathering and get to know the newest Free Jacks and the returning players. RSVP using the link here: https://www.freejacks.com/news-and-brews/.
About The Free Jacks: The Free Jacks are an aspiring and innovative live events, media, and consumer products organization. The core brand in the portfolio is The New England Free Jacks–the humble hard-working free-spirited professional rugby team competing in the emergent and exhilarating Major League Rugby (MLR), the premier North American professional rugby competition. For more information please visit www.FreeJacks.com