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Life off the Pitch with San Diego's Ryan Matyas

January 12, 2021 - Major League Rugby (MLR) - San Diego Legion News Release

For much of his adult life, Ryan Matyas has solely focused on rugby. Upon leaving high school, the versatile back moved to Wales, where he would play for Tondu RFC.

After a year, Ryan returned to his home state of Arizona, where he studied at the University of Arizona, achieving Collegiate All-American honors. Ryan spent spells in New Zealand and with Old Blue in New York, even going professional for a year with the USA 7s team.

Ryan joined San Diego Legion when the team was first formed, and since then has played a part in each Legion campaign in Major League Rugby so far.

Ryan was also selected as an MLR Game Changer, because of his commitment to growing the game of rugby in North America. His passion for rugby is blatantly clear, having travelled the world in order to play the game that he loves.

Coaching since he was a teenager, Ryan has coached for various different camps across the USA and hopes to carry on educating young players once his playing days are done.

"I just want to make sure that I pass on the information, I want to pay it forward," Ryan said. "That is kind of a saying around the rugby world, 'to pay it forward' and coaching is something that I have always been really passionate about, because I want to pay it forward.

"I want to give all of that knowledge that I have gained from living in Wales and in New Zealand and I coached for the New Zealand Rugby Union when I was living down there. I just want to teach as many kids as I can and grow this sport because I believe this is the best sport in the world and rugby can teach young people so much about life."

Beyond the pitch, Ryan became the exclusive distributer of Oceanstone Architectural Lighting, Inc in California in late 2019.

Distributing for his uncle's company, Gemstone Lights, which is based in Alberta, Canada and specializes in the installation of fixed external lighting at people's homes that is controlled by a cell phone app. After several years of persuasion, Ryan eventually visited his uncle north of the border and was hugely impressed by what he saw.

"My passion is coaching," Ryan said. "I love rugby. I eat, sleep, breathe it. I hadn't even thought about starting a business until I went to Canada and spent two weeks with them. I just thought that I loved the product, believed in the product.

"I am not saying that I am saving lives or anything but getting the chance at some of the installs in Canada and talked to customers. One of the clients, the reason why they wanted to get this system on their house was because their grandfather fell off a ladder putting up Christmas lights 20 years ago, broke his leg and he got an infection that led to his death.

"She said that knowing that her husband and her kids won't ever have to do that, because of our product. It was being able to offer that peace of mind that drove it home for me. I have been eyeing the post-rugby world, until now it has just been coaching, but when this came about, I thought it was a good time for me to try something different."

At the final home game of the season, San Diego management allowed Ryan to have a hut pitch-side at the Torero Stadium. So far, the feedback that Ryan has received a tremendous amount of positive feedback about the work he is doing in California.

"I am getting referral calls from people telling their friends, after having had family members over and bringing them outside to check out the lights," Ryan said. "They are absolutely through the roof and that is part of what I want to make sure is the foundation of my company. Customer satisfaction.

"A happy customer leads to referrals and it is just good business to make sure that you take care of your customers. If I go to a restaurant and have great service, I tell them. I will say that to a manager and say that a particular server did a fantastic job. Customer service is top priority."

Written by MLR Correspondent Joe Harvey

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