TUCSON, Ariz- A fantastic season for one of Arizona’s top young players has taken another step, as Mason Pedersen has been extended a professional contract for the remainder of the PRO Rugby North America season. Pedersen, a sophomore from Long Beach, Calif., has agreed to a contract with PRO Rugby San Diego, a member of the new US Professional competition.
While the move is a loss for the Arizona program, this loss is far outweighed by the unique opportunity for Pedersen, who will continue to work towards his degree while playing in a full-time training environment under Head Coach Ray Egan, formerly Pedersen’s high school coach in California. The tighthead prop most recently featured for the USA Under-20 team in Zimbabwe, helping the Eagles to a fifth place finish at the Junior World Trophy.
For Head Coach Sean Duffy, this is a sign that recruitment and player development is working and that the future of the game in the country is bright. “We’re sad to see Mason leave us, but given his ability at his age and his position, he is in a unique spot to be able to turn professional, enroll at school, live near home, and continue his degree all while participating in a full-time training environment” said Duffy “his EU passport from his Danish heritage also helps him in seeking future opportunities abroad and we’re looking forward to supporting Mason from far away as he’ll always be a Wildcat. The coaching staff in San Diego is a first class outfit, having scouted Mason and we certainly are of like mind that he’s a fantastic player.”
For Pedersen, this will be a move closer to home but also a step up in competition to the professional level, and he is thankful for the Arizona program in helping him take this step. “I had a great two years at Arizona. The program has been great to me, and has played an integral part in my growth as a player and as a person” said Pedersen “I can’t thank Coach Duffy and the rest of the coaching staff enough for everything. I wish the program great success in the future and I will forever be an Arizona Wildcat.”
San Diego defeated San Francisco this past weekend 46-33 with Pedersen making his debut as a reserve. For more on PRO Rugby North America, head to www.prorugby.org.