Atlanta, Georgia – For this week’s episode of our informational live series, ‘The RATL Roundup,’ Rugby ATL had on three of our newest residents on-camera to chat about their experiences so far, members of our Summer Residency Camp, Rocco Arnold of St. Bonaventure University, Dominic Odden of St. John’s University, and Damoreon Travis of Life University. After a rigorous and meaningful first week of camp, the three young men gathered around our granite island in the player lounge to talk about their initial experiences.
Dom Odden grew up in a small suburb outside of Minneapolis, and started playing the game of rugby as a high school junior. As a defensive lineman in American football, Dom enjoyed using his physicality in sport, and was turned onto rugby union through his positional coach. Upon graduating high school, Dom was eager to join the team at his college, and as a member of the back row, he’s continued to work on the physicality, body profile, and explosiveness that he first learned through football.
Damoreon Travis was a folk style wrestler and running back from Louisville, Kentucky. Well versed in the concepts of grappling and tackling other players, as well as ball carrying and evading defenders, Damoreon is not unfamiliar with the core skills to rugby union. First arriving at Life University to join the wrestling team, Damoreon quickly solidified his presence on the men’s undergrad rugby team, while learning from working in the same environment as Life alumni and our current professional’s, Duncan Van Schalkwyk, Harley Wheeler, & Julian Montes.
Rocco Arnold moved around a lot as a kid. Born on an Air Force base in Florida, he later moved: to England, back to Florida, to Colorado, to Germany, to South Carolina, and finally to Buffalo, New York, where his dad is originally from. That was during his junior year of high school, and was when Rocco first started playing rugby, for Orchard Park. The chance to play for a club comprised of a few different communities gave Rocco the chance to connect with kids from inside and outside of his new hometown, West Seneca, New York. his experience with this club also gave him the opportunity to meet Coach Tui Osborne of St. Bonaventure, and inevitably led to his decision to attend St. Bonaventure and play rugby for the Bonnies.
As our Summer Residency Camp finishes the first quarter of their itinerary, all three of these young men spoke of how they found themselves supported by the coaches and staff of Rugby ATL, and how grateful they were for their own unique pathways that led them to spend their summer training in the 404. If you would like to learn more about our Summer Residency Camp through our live series, go online to our Rugby ATL page on YouTube, give our video a like, and subscribe to our page to stay updated for more online content.