Nathan Speelman was raised down in Northfield, Ohio along with his two brothers. Like our other two seniors we profiled, Nathan also played soccer.
Nathan played soccer for a long time. He played from elementary level all the way until before his senior year when he decided he wanted to pursue his newfound passion … Rugby.
Nathan was introduced to rugby by his friend and now teammate, Declan Boldy ‘19. Nathan had played soccer for three years and had found success and friends through the sport, but couldn't get rugby out of his head. After a continuously increasing interest in the sport, and consistent encouragement from his friends, Nathan finally gave in and signed up for rugby.
Both of Nathan’s brothers play, and he wants the record to state that he was the FIRST among them. Nathan’s parents were surprised by his decision to stop playing soccer and start playing rugby, but they quickly came to his support.
We feel that rugby matches up perfectly with Nathan’s skill set," his parents said. "It is a combination of all of the defensive skills that he excelled at in football and all of the offensive skills that he experienced in soccer.”
Like Nick and Declan, Nathan had his kicking/soccer background, which helped him find his natural position in the back line. Nathan eventually was put at fullback and an alternate at wing if needed.
His kicking ability is supplemented by his natural knack for running the ball. Playing football through junior high helped instill this trait. He is hopeful to play in college to come capacity and help make this multifaceted game a bigger thing around the community.
Nathan credits any amount of success gained through this enterprise to his parents for their flexibility and unwavering support.
“Rugby has introduced me to a level of camaraderie that I had never been able to achieve. I was apprehensive about joining the sport as a junior, but the coaches and players welcomed me as their own," Speelman said. "The program is evolving into a staple of Ignatius sports and has started the trend of sports teams supporting other teams. I’d love to see more guys come out so that they too can enjoy the many wonderful things that I have come to associate with this amazing game. The program represents more than a team that plays rugby. We’re looking to change the dynamic of how rugby is perceived and how athletes should support other athletes in every discipline.”