The Free Jacks Launch 2024 Player Announcements With Up-And-Coming Trifecta
Two MLR Collegiate Draft Picks and a Boston-Born Utility Back are Set to Make an Impact in 2024
Quincy, MA – Representing the United States and San Pedro California is Samoan-born Junior Gafa. The center for Brown University Men’s Rugby was selected in the 2nd round of the 2023 MLR Draft, as the 23rd overall pick.
“I’m excited to join a team whose standards are championship level and has talent and experience that I can come into and develop as best as possible,” said Gafa. “I know that I will be joining a team whose culture is at the top of the league in the sports city capital of the US.”
In addition to rugby, Gafa played American Football for Brown. In the 2022 season he registered 35 tackles and 1 sack in seven games for the Bears. He was a Fourth Team Phil Steele All Ivy-Selection. Gafa grew up playing rugby in California and took the pitch representing the Back-Bay Sharks Rugby Club where he would go on to play for the USA U18 and U20 sides. Gafa played for the Free Jacks Collegiate Independents academy side where he has been a standout, and recently trained with the USA Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina.
At 6 ‘3, 213lb, 1st round 2023 MLR Draft pick Gabriel Casey will be a presence on the pitch in Quincy this season. The University of Victoria graduate is a product of Ottawa, Ontario and a standout U20 player for his country. Casey recently completed a club season in Canterbury, New Zealand with the Sumner Rugby Football Club before making his debut for Rugby Canada against Tonga this Summer in the XVs format. Currently, Casey is training with the Canadian Sevens side prior to pre-season.
“Gabe was recently capped against Tonga in XVs and is currently contracted with the Canadian Sevens program, experiences that demonstrate he is ready to compete at the MLR level,” commented General Manager, Tom Kindley. “Gabe gives us versatility with skills and size that allow him to play across the backline. As one of the premier players in the 2023 MLR Draft we were ecstatic to get him with our first pick.”
Born in Boston, raised in Ireland from a young age, Killian Coghlan is shaping up to be a fan favorite in 2024. Killian comes to the Free Jacks with strong rugby pedigree having played for John Poland’s alma mater, University College Cork (UCC) in the All Ireland League (AIL) for the last four years. This year, Killian was selected to the Irish Universities side where he started against the French at outside center.
Having recently graduated as a structural engineer, Coghlan had the following to say about making his first step as a professional rugby player, “I’m looking forward to the challenge of moving ‘home’ to play high performance rugby and aim to be a part of the Free Jacks success moving forward.”
Qualifying through birth for the United States, Coghlan was selected to represent the USA U20 side in 2020 before COVID curtailed competitive play. At 6 ‘2 – 212 lbs, Coghlan is a rangy utility back with an array of aerial and ball skills stemming from his Irish sporting background of Hurling and Gaelic football with the Courcey Rovers.
About New England 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.