One of the earliest attempts to introduce Rugby League to the United Sates was in 1953, when Mike Dimitro, the former UCLA football star and NFL Rams player organised a tour by an American Rugby League side to Australasia. Nicknamed the ‘American All Stars’ they’d never played the game before, yet they competed with the very best Australia, New Zealand and France had to offer and even shocked the locals with some stunning victories.
The most recent initiative to take the game of professional Rugby League to the United States is the bid to join the RFL by the New York City Rugby League being led by Ricky Wilby. Last week Wilby met Kevin Ellis, the Founder of Ellis Rugby and a deal was agreed to develop a licensed vintage clothing collection based on the pioneers of 1953 the ‘American All Stars’.
Commenting on the collaboration, Ellis said “We are tremendously excited at the prospect of developing this collection for NYCRL and marketing not only through the USA, but all League playing countries” he continued “The opportunity for the game across the pond is massive and I wish Ricky and his team all the best with their bid”
The aim is to launch the collection later this year and distribute through a range of retailers throughout the U.S.A., Australasia, the United Kingdom and mainland Europe.
NYCRL Bid Leader, Rick Wilby commented “Ellis Rugby create exceptional quality garments and we are delighted to be working with them”, he continued “The American All Stars of 1953 showed the outstanding athletes available in the U.S. and I’m confident once our bid gets the Green light it will be the start of something big for both the country and the game as a whole”