Youghal’s Ben Mitchell isn’t giving up on his American dream


BECAUSE of the continued unfold of the Coronavirus illness, Ben Mitchell might himself in sporting limbo till January of subsequent yr.

Following a two-year stint with Austin Elite, the Youghal native transferred to San Diego Legion upfront of the 2020 Main League Rugby season.

The promoting advertising and marketing marketing campaign had been transferring into accordance with plan for the Californians with 5 straight wins propelling them to the summit of the MLR Western Convention standings.

Sadly, this proved to be the ending stage contained in the calendar yr for San Diego.

The season was initially postponed on March 12 on account of COVID-19 before lastly being cancelled seven days later.

Given it’ll seemingly be roughly 9 months till San Diego’s subsequent aggressive outing, Mitchell is trying into the possibility of a fast return to the All-Eire League and his former membership UCC.

“I’ve been speaking with the coaches correct proper right here barely bit the last word couple of weeks and I’m undoubtedly attempting to play as quickly as additional before the following MLR season.

“Whether or not or not or not that may seemingly be presumably going as soon as extra dwelling and taking part in contained in the AIL for a few months or one issue like that,” Mitchell outlined.

“It’s clearly an infinite time interval to not be taking part in. Merely attempting to get one issue organised in the meanwhile for me to hopefully play some rugby before subsequent January.”

Earlier to his Stateside sojourn, Mitchell carried out a severe carry out in UCC’s rise by the home rugby ranks.

He was a pivotal member of the squad that gained promotion from Division 2A in April 2016 and in addition to featured contained in the early rounds of their 2017/18 promoting advertising and marketing marketing campaign – which ended with the Leesiders incomes a spot inside the next season’s top-flight.

Irrespective of now being compelled to trace their progressing on the far facet of the Atlantic, Mitchell maintains a strong affinity to the varsity outfit.

“I’ve fairly sturdy emotions for the membership. I spent 5 and a half years there in full. If there’s a risk I can return there and play presumably in September, I’d love that.

“Try to assist them out inside the event that that they’d been wanting to accommodate me for quite a few weeks or a few months.”

Nonetheless, Mitchell’s present state of affairs contained in the US would go away UCC – or one different membership for that matter – with a restricted timeframe by which to utilise the towering lock’s undoubted talents.

Whereas San Diego team-mates Jamie Dever and Paul Mullen have returned to their Mayo and Galway properties respectively, the economics and finance graduate has remained in his adopted nation.

That is because of his should play worldwide rugby with the US Eagles, who he qualifies to play for beneath the residency rule from 2021 onwards.

As a way to acquire this particular standing, Mitchell gained’t be allowed to depart America for bigger than 60 days in a given yr. Whereas this wasn’t in his concepts when he first joined forces with Austin in 2017, it’s has since develop to be a burning need for the 26-year-old.

“It wasn’t one issue I used to be eager about after which I had a fairly good season inside the primary yr. Of us had been beginning to counsel the thought to me and I had a few mates who had been concerned with the Eagles.

“The extra I thought of it, the extra I used to be determined that I wished to pursue that concept. Hopefully if I preserve working laborious over the following yr or two, I’ll be sporting an Eagles jersey.”

Mitchell will seemingly be amongst acquainted company if Eagles supremo Gary Gold does come calling. From the present San Diego squad, 14 of them have lined out for the US nationwide group in some unspecified time eventually – together with the aforementioned Mullen.

However it absolutely’s the presence of 1 totally different title on the Legion roster that actually underlines the ambition being confirmed by head coach Rob Hoadley.

A two-time World Cup winner with New Zealand – for whom he amassed an astonishing haul of 103 caps – Ma’a Nonu arrived at Torero Stadium inside the summertime after ending his third stint with the Blues.

Although he’s quick approaching his 38th birthday, the powerhouse centre continues to pack a substantial punch.

“It has been large, a very cool expertise. He does one think about educating every single day and your jaw kind of drops,” Mitchell mentioned of Nonu.

“You’re like ‘wow, that’s the calibre of participant that he’s’. It’s good to be spherical that every single day and it sort of brings everybody’s requirements up.

“Everyone seems to be striving to be like that.”

The Legion devoted had been solely merely starting to get a mode of what Nonu might carry to the MLR and there’ll understandably be some concern over one of the simplest ways forward for his or her abroad recruits.

Mitchell has, nonetheless, obtained assurances from Hoadley and his instructing group that they could struggle tooth and nail to return for the 2021 season with the same group intact.

“Merely from speaking to the coaches the last word week or two, I do know they’re undoubtedly attempting to carry as soon as extra virtually all of the squad from this yr.

“Which works to be large going into subsequent yr. An infinite a part of me coming over to San Diego this yr from Austin was that it does have a standing as the best knowledgeable atmosphere in America,” Mitchell added.

“With my aspirations to play for the States inside the following yr or two, I believed this may be place to kick on and enhance as a participant.”



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