Cal Poly Rugby’s Patrick Madden was selected 12th overall by the San Diego Legion in the inaugural Major League Rugby draft held June 13, 2020.
“To start my professional career with ‘SD’ on my chest… I can’t believe that I get this opportunity,” Madden, a San Diego native, said.
Madden, a journalism senior, played three years for the Mustangs. He made first team All-Conference in 2018 and in 2019, and he was named a finalist for the 2020 Rudy Scholz Award, the highest achievement for a collegiate rugby player.
“If I had any sort of wise words [for playing rugby], do it with a smile on your face and things will work out. It goes with anything in life, if you do what you love, nothing else matters,” Madden said.
Madden, a two-time captain, led the Mustangs to a victory over UC Berkeley in 2019, which was their first win over the Golden Bears since 2012.
“I’ve made a home here at Cal Poly and the fact that I might be leaving it a little early hurts my heart, but I know everyone is super supportive of me and the dream I’ve been chasing,” Madden said in a previous interview with Mustang News. “I didn’t get to experience the last year and a half of my collegiate career, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I am doing what I love.”
Madden also praised Cal Poly Rugby for helping him balance academics and athletics. Although Madden said his life has been a “balancing act,” juggling playing for club and USA Rugby since age 15, he said his teammates at Cal Poly Rugby will always be his “brothers on and off the field.”
Teammates Alex Domine and Kyle Hegarty said Madden had a great impact on them.
“In my first game against Cal, after the game, he was getting interviewed and was talking about a try I scored with an assist from him,” Domine said. “[Madden] said, ‘When [you] back the boys, good things happen.’ That has stuck with me and just shows his trust and acceptance of his teammates.”
Hegarty, one of Madden’s best friends and a business administration senior, praised Madden for his help in rugby, academics and his overall personal growth.
“Patrick has positively influenced me on all of those fronts,” Hegarty said. “From making me a better person and a better communicator to being on the rugby pitch. His knowledge and skill base alone has always just encouraged me to work harder and be a better player and dig deeper.”
Madden played primarily at fly-half and also at inside centre during his Cal Poly career, and he even played as a full back during his time with USA Rugby. However, the Legion is planning to position him as a scrum-half, or a number nine.
“[The Legion] are willing to take that shot on me in a position that I don’t have the most experience with, but they know that I can learn it fast,” Madden said. “I’m willing to do anything I can to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
As quarantine interrupted both professional and collegiate athletics, Madden said he is now training with anything he can find. Using stacked chairs and other forms of makeshift equipment, Madden is using the aide of his San Diego Legion coach Zachary Test to create a three-week workout program to stay fit.
Another supportive presence through quarantine has been Madden’s father, Joe.
“My dad has been super supportive and he has been jumping from place to place with me,” Madden said. “He’s a warrior. He finishes a full workday and then trains with me.”
Madden took a full 16-unit summer quarter, interned part-time at Cambridge Mobile Telematics in Massachusetts and trained twice a day to stay in shape and sharpen his techniques. Graduating this fall, Madden is working around a 26-unit course load and training to begin his pre-season with the San Diego Legion on Nov. 30.
To manage this workload between classes and training, Madden said he writes down his goals in a book.
“I started it when I was thirteen and if I didn’t write it down, I believed [the goals] would not come true. Whether it be classes or training, I wrote it down and it brought my goals to life,” Madden said. “[When in doubt], I look at the book and tell myself, ‘Yes this is what I want to be doing.’”