NEW YORK, NY – There are bigger names splashed across the Major League Rugby landscape. There are better players, too. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who is more popular than Benjamin James Foden. He’s been a singer on The X Factor, for crissakes. Watch and get jealous…
Granted, good-looks, a singing voice and missing buttons may get you noticed on the stage, but they won’t on the pitch. Yet Foden has excelled on the biggest of rugby stages for a long time. 34 caps for England (including scrumhalf) 54 appearances for the Sale Sharks, 250 for Northampton’s Saints. And now he’s going into year 3 with RUNY. Critics are somewhat dismissive of his accomplishments with New York. I am not one of those people. As someone that has been to training sessions, ridden on buses with the team and devoured every minute of this NYC-based MLR team’s matches, Ben Foden has been all that was advertised – and more.
Has he scored a zillion tries? No. Does a rare misstep get played on the highlight reels repeatedly? Of course – especially the bad hop of the cement field in Vegas that bounced off the crossbar vs the Free Jacks. That’s life in the big city. But make no mistake, Foden is a big city guy. He’s also been the one constant and calming force on the pitch in times of utter chaos. Snowstorms, gale force winds, driving rain, boiling hot days under a glaring sun, didn’t matter. You could bet your mortgage The X Factor star being there to clean up and steady the ship. Considering that his fellow backline mates have been in and out of the lineup, changed positions and even been learning on the fly, you understand his role has been more like Harvey Keitel in Reservoir Dogs or Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan.
The new acquisitions in the 9-14 positions will allow Foden to start taking some calculated risks and make for some entertaining back play for #RUNY. Moreover, young backline players can see a pro’s pro going to work. But enough of what I think. Check out the lofty praise from a MLR Executive, who asked to remain anonymous:
“I am very impressed by the job they are doing over at New York HQ. Retaining the core of the team while upgrading elsewhere. Masterful job, really.”
Still not sure? Then consider the words of Captain Dylan Fawsitt, who also recently agreed to come back. The Butcher doesn’t mince words:
“He has had a massive impact since joining the club. The man’s a superstar on and off the pitch. The experience he brings is unrivaled and just what we need to continue on our path to reaching our main goal as an organization.”
Need more? Here’s what Head Coach Greg McWilliams offered up:
“We’ve all been so impressed with Ben’s attitude re the game of rugby. He recovers after games and after training correctly. He looks after his body during the week. He prepares for challenges, has a lot to contribute on the leadership point of view and is a terrific role model for the younger players… He’s got a great energy. He enjoys the game of rugby with a smile on his face. He’s exactly what we need moving forward and we’re delighted having him back, ready for 2020-21.”
Lord knows we’ll all be ready for 2020-21 – and watching Ben Foden patrolling the New York backfield.
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