Michael Hodge will be the first-ever head coach of the Dallas Jackals. He is also the youngest head coach in MLR at only 32 years old. A coach of relative inexperience, Hodge will look to make his mark in MLR.
📢 🚨 Dallas Jackals are pleased to announce Michael Hodge as Head Coach. Hodge is currently Head of High Performance at Sydney University FC and previously represented Australia 7s. Welcome to the Pack Michael!
— Dallas Jackals (@DallasJackals) October 4, 2021
Bio of Michael Hodge, new Dallas Jackals head coach
Hodge is a relatively inexperienced head coach. His previous experience includes working as Sydney University FC’s (SUFC) Head of High Performance. A position that he will leave, because of the opportunity with Dallas (according to the Sydney University Football Club). This is what he said about the opportunity according to the Dallas Jackals.
“I’m incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity. The challenge ahead is an exciting one and I’m looking forward to working with the Jackals staff, players, and the entire DFW community,” Hodge said. “We have a unique opportunity to start something new and I hope we can inspire the next generation of rugby players and engage plenty of new rugby fans along the way!”
Hodge is only 32 years old, making him the youngest head coach in MLR according to the Americas Rugby News. His playing career can be dated back to when he was 18 years old with Sydney University. He then joined the Australian Sevens in 2010. He also played for the Sydney Stars.
At Sydney University, he made 10 appearances and scored seven points. Then with the Stars, he had five points in seven appearances. He was also promoted to the Waratahs team but never played for them because of injury.
It is also important to note that Hodge has at least some coaching experience according to the Dallas Jackals. He started his coaching career at Cranbrook School and was also the Combined Associated Schools representative. After that, he returned to Sydney University to become Director of Rugby and first Team Co-Head Coach.
Summary of Dallas Jackals’ head coach hire
This is not a high-profile signing of a head coach or player seen in the past in MLR. However, a high-profile signing is not necessarily the best one to make. Instead, rugby union fans in Dallas should be excited to see a head coach grow and mature in his role as head coach. Hodge is a rookie head coach, but at the same time, he comes from a Tier 1 rugby nation, something the U.S., and Canada aspire to be.
𝗗𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗮𝘀 𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗸𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝗮𝘂𝗴𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟮 — Thank you for your unwavering support of Dallas Jackals Rugby thus far. We look forward to bringing profession rugby to DFW in 2022 and providing the very best experience for our fans. pic.twitter.com/Oiy2G8DPeE
— Dallas Jackals (@DallasJackals) January 19, 2021
The Jackals delayed their season until 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dallas will be the third Texan team in Major League Rugby. The other two teams from the state of Texas are, the Houston SaberCats and the Austin Gilgronis.
There will be no shortage of rivalries for Dallas in MLR. Michael Hodge though will need to understand these interstate rivalries and manage the emotions of his players. It is an exciting time for Dallas as they have also signed some players. This included on October 5, where a former Colorado Raptors and San Diego Legion player Carlo de Nysschen signed with the Jackals.
Typically for expansion teams, the expectation to perform is not that high in their inaugural season. However, after seeing the LA Giltinis win the 2021 MLR Championship in their inaugural season, anything can happen.
The 2022 Major League Rugby (MLR) season schedule is still to be released. Follow Raheem Bashir and Last Word on Rugby social media platforms for updates and breaking news on the anticipated season which includes the Dallas Jackals for the first time.
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