A rare specimen blew up on our shores last summer – a young American, Jake Christmann, from Indianapolis (Indiana), with an interesting youth rugby CV. What on earth led him to turn up on the Fylde Coast? It goes back to Jake’s father, Jeff, who was a professional American Footballer. Jeff had a spell in the UK and played for the relatively short lived Fylde Falcons franchise. The owner of the Falcons, Ken Benson, kept in touch with Jeff Christmann and when his son Jake wanted to have a sabbatical in the UK to play rugby he kindly offered his hospitality on the Fylde.
Jake played most recently for the Royal Irish Rugby Society in Indiana and played a successful role in the team’s 2017 Boys High School National Championships. Click here for a video interview with him and a team mate .
Ken Benson recommended Fylde to Jake on his arrival in Lancashire and he turned up at the Woodlands for pre-season in late summer. Jake joined in 1st/2nd team squad training and warmed to his task in adjusting to the standard of rugby at Fylde’s level – and to the particular characteristics of the weather on the Lancashire Coast. His most familiar position is at scrum-half and he is also a reliable goal kicker.
Jake has played numerous matches for the Hawks, mainly at no 9 but occasionally on the wing, and has made a very useful contribution to the squad. To his delight, he has now earned a Under 20s and professional team contract for one of the clubs in the newly formed Major League Rugby competition. There are initially seven clubs in a very high profile development in US professional rugby. So we hope that Fylde have helped in the progress of this talented young man.
Jake also became fully involved in the Club’s off the field activities. He bravely volunteered to take part in the ‘Fylde does Strictly’ dancing venture and would have paraded his twinkling feet along with partner Steph in October but the evening had to be postponed due to illness of one of the lead dancers. In what seems to be a rather extreme way to avoid the re-scheduled ‘Strictly’ event in the Spring, he’s off to join up with his new club and flies back to the USA on Saturday!
Jake Christmann said: “I have much enjoyed my time at Fylde Rugby. I can’t thank enough the whole coaching staff especially the Hawks’ Dan Orwin, Paul Moran and Ian Pearson. ‘Thank you’ as well to Warren Spragg, Alex Loney, Roger Banks, and Dave Young. In my short time at Fylde they have helped me become a strong and confident player. I couldn’t have thought of a better club to join. The whole Fylde community welcomed me so well and I couldn’t have had a better time. For that Thank you Fylde. Cheers!”
Jake tweeted this week: “Such a Fantastic club @fylderugby @FyldeHawks thank you all, for these past 7 months of amazing rugby.”
Everyone at Fylde sends their best wishes to Jake, both in his rugby development and more generally in whatever career he eventually follows. Remember your time on the Fylde Coast!
And, finally, a team photo of the Hawks (v Chester), Jake’s last game for the Club.