SOPHOMORE Spotlight: CHARLIE GREEN
Charlie Green looks to play a bigger role next season after a strong 2020. (Photo credits: Jeff Jowdy)
June 18- After profiling Freshman standout Will McCausland last month, ArizonaRugby.com sat down with Sophomore Openside Flanker Charlie Green to discuss his career up to this point with for the Wildcats.
How long have you been playing Rugby?
I started playing rugby during my freshman year of high school at Saint Edward High School in Ohio, six years ago. At the time I also played football and wrestled. When I first decided to join it was something I decided to do to help me with my other sports but on day one I fell in love with the idea of the game.
What made you decide to come to Arizona?
Arizona was a shot in the dark for me as I never got a chance to visit before committing. I did research on the school and found some great programs for what I was interested in doing. After I checked off the educational box and heard promises of the perfect Arizona weather I was excited to learn more about the rugby aspect. I learned everything I could about the program and it sounded too good to be true based on what my understanding of college rugby was. In many states, the college teams are lower-level clubs for the most part without much structure so when I found out the program is treated as a real college sport it really blew my mind. After then talking to some former teammates from high school who were there, I was 100% committed and eager to attend.
What were the biggest changes between Freshman and Sophomore year both on and off field?
The difference between year one and year two was huge for both. On-field, I noticed how much more comfortable I felt both playing our system and leading on the field. I attribute this to having a year under my belt practicing but also getting to know my teammates on deeper levels than just somebody I play with. I'm super excited to see what this upcoming year will be like considering I have a better grip on how to accel in this program. Off-field my life has changed greatly as I got much more involved on campus. I lived in a house with some teammates and that added to the camaraderie. Studies got much more challenging especially with everything that I decided to add to my plate but rugby helped me to keep a solid schedule. Another big improvement off-field was the way I trained and took care of my body. I shifted my mentality to train more specifically for rugby and made sure I gave my body time to recover to help me perform at my best.
What advice would you give to an incoming Arizona Freshman for this Fall in the team?
My biggest piece of advice would be to come in ready to grind right off the bat. Going to college is an entirely new experience and there are so many exciting things to take in. My advice is to work as hard as you possibly can that first semester. Go above and beyond what everyone else is doing. Work hard in school, rugby, your relationships, and on your own mental state. The biggest mistake people make is not setting that standard of hard work out of the gate and it's hard to get that mentality of working hard again after you've sat back and coasted by for a semester. Another piece of advice would be to get your face around and don't be afraid to make friends, especially with the older boys on the team. See this as an opportunity to make lifelong friends, not just guys to play college rugby with.
We understand you've enrolled in the Air National Guard? What does that mean for a college student? What are some of the benefits?
Air National Guard was one of the best decisions I've made since being at Arizona. The initial reason I joined was that I didn't want my parents to try to pay for my education but this will also help my career. The program offers full-tuition assistance which means school will be paid for. Some people thought I was crazy to add this to my plate with all that I had going on, but it's honestly no extra stress. The commitment is a six years starting when I signed my name. I have to go into the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson one weekend a month and I get paid for it just like any normal job. I also have to attend basic training and technical school which I can complete all in one summer so I won't have to miss anything school or rugby related. The job I have is Aerospace Propulsion which is great because it gives me experience for the major I am pursuing in mechanical engineering. There are also benefits such as health, dental, military discounts, access to the base and its facilities, a guaranteed job when I graduate (if I choose so), and for certain months I can get a housing and food stipend. With all this, I would highly recommend the program to everyone and I am already steps into the process of getting a fellow teammate enlisted.
Favorite moment of the 2020 season?
My favorite moment of the 2020 season was when we went to Los Angeles to play the UCLA. This trip, in general, was a great time but there were some key things about it that made it a big highlight for me. We started the trip with a hard-fought first XV match that turned into a close match at the end. I got to see the guys pull through and finish the match with a victory under great pressure. UCLA had come back from a good lead we had and that can do a number on the mental focus of a team. t's easy to run up a score and coast the rest of the game but when they started coming back we had to switch it back on. This is one of the most challenging things to do in the game. Although close in the end I'm proud of our boys for switching on fully to finish out with a victory. The next highlight was captaining the second XV immediately after. The reason this was a highlight for me is not that I got to have the title of captain but rather it helped to expose things I needed to work on both as a player and a leader. It was a much closer game than it should have been and after I reflected on the game I saw many times I could have changed that. Personally, there were times where I know I was in the wrong place or could have done things differently. As a leader, there were a few times that I think back to where if I would have communicated to my team the game could have gone differently. While being a captain is great the best part of it was giving me a better understanding of the game as a whole and put me in perspective to understand how I can make a difference to the team, not just my own game.
You didn't feature in the first side, but did you feel you continued to progress through your training, matches, and off-field work?
I feel like I contributed greatly to the development of the team. I'd say the biggest thing I brought to the team this season was work ethic and an overall grind. While there are aspects to my game I need to work on one thing I've always excelled in is my effort. Whether it be in gym sessions or in practice I always push to get that extra work and that energy is contagious. I've seen it all around me where guys compete with me on that last sprint when they are tired or they hit the gym an extra 30 minutes because I'm out there getting extra work. I love it when this happens. I've had guys on the first side ask to train with me just because that raw effort and energy is something they love to be around. While I know there are still things I need to work on to progress my game I know I am still contributing by challenging the rest of the guys on the team.
Favorite teammate to play with?
My favorite teammate to play with has got to be Jack Mccrossin. "Jackie Mac" and I are both back row players with very different styles of play. With this, I am able to learn so much from him and apply it to my game. We have great connections in-game and often set each other up for good opportunities. In fact, he set me up for my first college career try. Jack is an exciting player to watch and I look forward to playing with him in the back row this year.
What will you miss about playing with graduating seniors like Bronson Teles and Ben Scoular in the back row?
I will greatly miss playing with all the graduating seniors but especially Bronson and Benny. They were my top role models since joining the program and taught me a lot. These two were unique in the fact that they were incredible players to watch but they were also amazing leaders. They would often take time if I kept messing something up to pull me aside and made sure I was getting better. They didn't let anyone on the team fall behind and truly cared about the program. For Bronson, I will miss the aggression and passion he brought to the game. I can confidently say he was the best captain I've ever played under and that will be missed. For Benny, I will miss the amazement I felt watching him play, especially in sevens. He is one of the most elusive players in open space and his understanding of the game is incredible. I plan to step up and one day fill the precedent for success that these men set in our back row.
You head into the 2021 season after the graduations of guys like those two. After a strong season in the Second side, what's your goal for 2021? What's your goal for this team in 2021?
My personal goal for the 2021 season is to be an impactful player and leader. I want the effort I put out to be contagious and get guys excited to work hard. I have two major goals for this team in the 2021 season. The first is to strengthen the relationships and trust between players on and off the pitch. For a team to be successful it doesn't come from stud athletes but rather guys that will come together for one another and push one another when things get tough. My next major goal for this team is to promote a culture of relentless effort and passion. I want guys to come into training with the one goal of outworking every single person on that field. When these two goals are met I truly believe we can be national champions.
What is your goal after Arizona?
My goal after college is to get a job that allows me to travel the world while working on something that will positively impact society. I would love to work for a company like SpaceX or Tesla if presented the opportunity.
Director of Rugby Sean Duffy: "Charlie continues to work behind the scenes, getting better and better in his skills, his understanding, and leadership. He's another promising back rower our fans should look out for in 2021. Some programs only have the bandwidth to focus on their first team. We're blessed with a player development pathway and an amazing staff of coaches to help prepare our team for one of the toughest conferences in the country. Off the field between his work in the classroom and in the community he fits perfectly what we want in our program and university."