ABC All-Star: UM's Olympic Rugby Hopeful-Martin Iosefo - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

ABC All-Star: UM's Olympic Rugby Hopeful-Martin Iosefo

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Martin Iosefo came to Montana to walk-on to the football team. When things didn't work out on the grid-iron, he picked back up one of his favorite sports he grew up playing in Hawaii, and quickly showed he was one of the best Rugby players in the Northwest.

"We've got to do something with this guy, and we've got to get him somewhere he can be seen. So I contacted a friend of mine who coaches in Chicago, and they were able to put him up while they played for Chicago, and then we were able to get him in for the college All-American Sevens team that summer," says USA Rugby College All-American Assistant Coach Eric Taber.

And from his performance on the All-American Sevens team, things escalated quickly, with him traveling all over.

"My first trip was in Dubai, that's where my debut was, then South Africa, and the last two were New Zealand and Las Vegas," says USA Rugby Center/UM Senior Martin Iosefo.

He's soft spoken and doesn't like much attention when it comes to his incredible level of success, but even he admits, playing for USA Rugby has been amazing.

"It's really exciting. Just to put on that jersey it means a lot to me. To play for your country, it's one of the greatest feelings ever," says Iosefo.

"He's been traveling around the world for the last 6-8 months competing against the best players in the world at the highest level possible and he's been doing great, he's one of the top 10 in the world this year," adds Taber.

While he's been traveling nearly his entire senior year, he will graduate in a few months from the University of Montana with a degree in Psychology and Special Ed.

"Then he hopes to get a contract at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista California, and he'll be an athlete in residence there, waking up every day like it's his job to work on weight training and skills, and all the stuff the national coaches have for him to do," explains Taber.

For a kid who left the beaches of Hawaii for the snow-capped mountains in Montana to play football, he admits it all seems rather surreal as he prepares himself to compete for a spot on the Olympic Rugby team.

"It's a great feeling. Never thought I would be in this place right now playing for the national rugby team. From the start I wanted to try out for football and take that and make a career out of it, but obviously Rugby played out well for me, and it's the best feeling ever," says Iosefo.


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