5 facts about USA rugby star Perry Baker – NBC10 Philadelphia

You can’t mention USA Rugby Sevens without discussing Perry Baker.

Baker has had a unique journey to where his rugby sevens career is today as he is set to become one of the best players in the team’s program.

But why is Baker, 36, so respected in the US rugby community? Let’s dive into how 2021-22 Rugby Sevens Grand Final ends in Los Angeles.

Here are five facts to know about Baker before he takes the field Dignity Sports Park:

He played college football at Fairmont State

Rugby wasn’t Baker’s first sport – soccer was. He played for Fairmont State, an NCAA Division II team in West Virginia. He graduated with a degree in criminal justice in 2010, but that field was not his next venture.

The Philadelphia Eagles signed him in 2011

The National Football League was actually Baker’s first pitch out of college. The Philadelphia Eagles signed it 2011 year, but, unfortunately, this journey was cut short. Baker suffered a knee injury that ended his NFL days. He went on to play two seasons with the Pittsburgh Power of the Arena Football League in 2012 and 2013.

He made his US rugby sevens debut in 2014

After taking rugby lessons in 2013 at the Tiger Rugby Academy in Columbus, Ohio, Baker signed a full-time contract with Team USA to join its residency program in July 2014. He made his first-team debut at the 2014 Gold Coast Sevens in Australia, a tournament in which he scored a hat-trick in one game. It was the beginning of something special.

He led the USA to its first World Rugby 7s win on home soil in 2018

After an impressive 2017 campaign, Baker continued his incredible play in the 2018 tournaments. Perhaps his biggest moment was helping Team USA win the 2018 USA Sevens Championship on home soil for the first time in the country’s history. The USA went undefeated in group play and beat England, Fiji and Argentina en route to winning the competition in Las Vegas. Baker led all players with eight tries.

Who has the most Rugby Sevens Player of the Year awards?

You guessed it – it’s Baker.

The World Rugby 7s Player of the Year began in 2004 as a way to recognize the best athlete of the year in all Rugby 7s competitions, most notably the Rugby 7s World Series games. Baker picked up the award in 2017 and 2018, becoming the first rugby sevens player in history to win it twice. He is also the only American to win. The only players who came close were 2019 nominees Steven Thomasin and Folau Niua.

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