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Meet the Third Overall Pick in the 2022 Draft: Calixto Martinez

August 25, 2022 - Major League Rugby (MLR) - Old Glory DC News Release


Last Thursday afternoon, the third Major League Rugby Draft took place in Austin, Texas. Picked third overall after Sam Golla [first overall, Dallas Jackals] and Sebastiano Villani [second overall, NOLA Gold] was 25-year-old Canadian, Calixto Martinez.

PICK #3 BY OLD GLORY DC

CALIXTO MARTINEZ, PROP | UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

As a result of his selection, the prop forward is the highest ever pick from Canada to date and will be looking to establish himself with Old Glory DC in the 2023 season. From White Rock, British Columbia, Martinez graduated with a major in geography and a minor in political science from the University of British Columbia.

Describing himself as an "avid outdoorsman", the prop forward is certainly going to the right place should he want to progress in the senior game in his position.

Since the team joined the league in 2020, there has been a strong culture when it comes to loosehead and tighthead prop. This includes the marquee signing of Rugby World Cup winning South African, Tendai Mtawarira, ahead of their inaugural season.

A global pandemic would put an early end to the South African's association with the team, but since then Jack Iscaro has risen to be a dangerous weapon at scrum time and earning a call-up to Gary Gold's USA Eagles camp earlier this summer.

"It feels like an amazing honor and an amazing opportunity that has been presented to me," Martinez said. "I am very humbled by it and very grateful it has happened like that.

"There is a pressure that comes along with that as well. I want to perform - as I am sure everyone that gets drafted does.

"So, there is a bit of pressure, I want to do good and grow the sport in North America and represent for Canada as a Canadian as well."

A stroll through Martinez's social media and you get a sense of exactly the kind of player that Old Glory have drafted. In the past, the 25-year-old has worked in the forests of British Columbia and lists his hobbies as hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing and rock climbing.

It is an impressive feat that Martinez, with all his extracurricular activities, has maintained his performance on the rugby field and takes his place amongst the top three draft picks in 2022.

"I have always been keen on diet, exercise in the gym and being on time and showing up to practice, ready to work hard," Martinez said. "All the other extra-curricular [things he has done] are just jobs I have done in the past.

"I have learned a lot of skills in those other jobs that I think are transferrable to a team environment, but definitely playing university sport is always a challenge with the workload and housing and money and tuition, and this that and the other.

"It has been a grinder, but I feel like it has come full-circle now and I'm about to start a whole new journey at the pro level."

In the 2022 Major League Rugby season, Old Glory DC finished at the foot of the Eastern Conference. Picking up three wins in their 16 games played, their form meant that they had such a high pick in the first round of the 2022 Draft.

Their season also included the mid-season departure of Andrew Douglas, as well as the appointment of Nate Osbourse as interim head coach to see out the season.

Even with their difficulties, there were bright sparks at Segra Field. This included the continued development of Iscaro, the rise of Cory Daniel and an impressive individual campaign for Peni Lasaqa.

Hoping to follow in the footsteps of his new teammates and add to his own international pedigree, which included Canada U20 caps, in the months to come with Old Glory.

"I am super pumped to meet all the fellas out there, play against the guys that I have grown up playing against who are on the other teams and have the opportunity to play with some really high-quality players from around the world," Martinez said.

"It's amazing. I could meet someone that could be a mentor for me. To be around players of such a high caliber is such an amazing gift and I am super siked for that."

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