Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Christian Ostberg to play for Sardinia

Christian "CEO" Ostberg scoring a try for Life against Arkansas State.
Christian Ostberg says that the enormity of the deal has not sunk in, yet. However, the Junior All-American and Life University Lock has signed an 8 month contract to play rugby for Sardinia in Italy's Serie B for the 2014-2015 season. He leaves after Labor Day for pre-season work-ups.

Ostberg says the offers to play overseas began after the 2013 Junior Rugby World Championship. While this was a forgettable tournament for the JAAs, Ostberg apparently made quite an impression on several agents who came calling. Christian was not through with school, though. So he pushed the offers aside, but they never left his mind.

CEO & Luke Gross at OTC/CV
The Apprentice and the Master
of the Engine Room!
That changed for Christian after the loss of his grandfather, who lived in Sweden. Ostberg's grandfather had but one wish - to see his grandson play rugby. That wish was never granted. While thinking about his grandfather and taking opportunities when such were afforded to him, Christian decided to pursue the dream. He began to return the agents' calls.

The offers were surprising and great. A French D2 team offered a spot on an academy squad and it looked promising. Then, Sardinia made an offer that he just could not refuse - a contract for the season featuring a vehicle to share with a teammate, the plane tickets there and back, the standard room & board, and, best yet, a full time salary. Christian Ostberg accepted the opportunity to be a professional rugby player in Italy.

Not too shabby for a kid who played #8 for Coach Paul "Rock" McCartney at Stony Point HS in Round Rock, TX, represented RugbyTexas on the High Performance team, and accepted a scholarship to play rugby for Life University only to break his jaw in his freshman year. Ostberg said he was putting pressure on himself to gun for a spot on Life's first side when he made a tackle out of form. Twenty minutes into a game, an opposing prop was taking a hospital pass and Ostberg sniped in for the smash, with his head up. His jaw met the prop's forehead as he drove the prop back with a bone-crunching tackle. When Christian got up his jaw was dangling - a clean break at the back of the jaw and snapped at the chin. For most ruggers, such an injury is the end.

For two months, Christian's jaw was wired shut and he enjoyed a liquid diet. Then he endured another month of partial wires and mouth forms before the doctor cleared him to play. Life's rugby season may have been over by that time, but Scott Lawrence needed a lock to travel to France with the USA Rugby JAAs for the JRWC. Ostberg's first rugby match back from his injury was against the Baby Bokke of South Africa!
CEO tracking down the French backline during the 2013 JRWC.

Christian wants to play for the Eagles. He wants to develop himself as a player and to build his confidence and physicality. The JRWC and the professional opportunities that came knocking after opened his eyes to the fact "that Coach Rock was right when he told the Stony Point team numerous times that there is no limit to what they can do in rugby." Ostberg is also thankful for "Coach Dan Payne's training model at Life that focuses the team on becoming better rugby players first instead of improving position play." "CEO" wants to take all of their training and inspiration and focus it during his new-found, professional rugby career to build a foundation that will allow him to don the Red, White, and Blue kit for the USA again someday.
CEO carrying the ball for Life versus Lindewood

Pictures courtesy of Dennis Hawk and Mats Ostberg.

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