Last night, Old Glory selected Life University center Palema Roberts and Penn State University center and Gonzaga alumnus Labi “LJ’ Koi-Larbi in the MLR Collegiate Draft. This is the second draft under head coach Andrew Douglas, who worked closely with Player Pathways Director Tim Brown to ensure Old Glory made the most strategic choices available. Old Glory Academy Coaches Tito Miranda and Danny Breda also joined the Old Glory draft team alongside Douglas and Brown.
“When we started the process of finding our 2021 draft picks, I told Tim Brown and his scouting team I needed quality individuals, prioritizing firstly midfield options that were attacking threats and could defend constructively,” said Andrew Douglas. “We also thought it was important to try and bring local players back to the region.”
Starting with the 19th overall pick in the second round, Old Glory selected Life University center Palema Roberts. Hailing from Makakilo, Hawaii, Roberts joins the OG squad as a two-time D1-A national champion with Life University.
Head coach Andrew Douglas is confident that the pick will strengthen the Old Glory roster.
“Palema recently graduated from the national collegiate-winning program at Life University. He’s a strong ball carrier who enjoys the physicality of the game. We are excited to see him play MLR and take the next step in what will hopefully be a long professional career.”
Player Pathways Director Tim Brown agrees.
“Palema was chosen 19th, and OGDC had him 8th on their overall draft board, so we feel really good about him.”
In the third and final round, Old Glory selected Penn State University center and Gonzaga alumnus Labi “LJ’ Koi-Larbi with the 32nd overall pick.
For Labi Koi-Larbi, Washington, DC is home. The outside center is an alumnus of high school rugby powerhouse Gonzaga College High School and helped the team win two back-to-back national championship titles in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, Koi-Larbi was named captain of the team for his senior year. He graduated from Penn State University this past May as a three-year starter on the collegiate rugby team. During his tenure, the outside center was a key player for Penn State, having been named to the 2018 Rugby East All-Conference team in the Goff Rugby Report.
“LJ is a local player and continues our strong link to Gonzaga,” said Douglas. “Gonzaga is a high school powerhouse in rugby, and we are proud to make LJ the 5th member to join our team. Part of Old Glory’s vision is to create links with our local rugby community, and it’s great to see these relationships continue to grow.”
The outside center will join a growing list of Gonzaga College High School Alumni to join the Old Glory squad, including Dante Lopresti, Jack Iscaro, Jack Carroll, and Owen Sheehy.
The Old Glory scouting team has spent the last few weeks reviewing draft prospects, viewing player highlights, and putting together a draft board to prepare for the MLR draft.
“I really enjoyed getting to know the coaches and players involved in this year’s draft,” comments Brown. “Coach Douglas gave me a well-defined mission – to find centers that could find a gap and exploit it. As you see from the tapes provided by Palema Roberts and LJ Koi Larby, they can do that. Additionally, we got excellent reviews from their college coaches and teammates who have known them as they have matured. Finally, I got the most enjoyment in this whole process out of working with Danny and Tito and the four of us (along with head coach Andrew) challenging each other’s picks and digging deep into talent nationwide.”
Overall, after weeks of scouting and analysis, Andrew Douglas walks away confident with their picks.
“We have been lucky enough to find two quality young men who can grow depth at Old Glory and enhance our program.”