Through time, Guam’s bloodlines have run far and wide across the globe.
Donovan Aflleje, with blood-ties to Guam, and a junior at Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, Washington, has been invited to attend the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy Invitational Winter Camp from Dec. 26-30.
The five-day camp, at Sports World, will take place in Casa Grande, Arizona.
EIRA is a nationwide organization whose mission is to help identify and develop America’s best, young players. Through a series of clinics and camps, EIRA helps athletes hone their skills, and instills a professional mindset. The ultimate goal is to prepare players for their clubs and all-star programs and to compete against international competition. The best prospects, with the opportunity of becoming USA High School All Americans, enjoy competing on summer international tours.
Donovan Aflleje is the son of Michael Aflleje, originally from Piti, and Doressa Guerrero-Aflleje, who lived in Yona and Tumon.
Although Donovan Aflleje has never been to Guam, he hopes to take part in the fiestas and dip his toes in the welcoming waters.
“Someday I want to visit and see Guam,” Donovan Affleje said.
After attending a beginning rugby camp as an eighth grader, Donovan Aflleje, an American football convert, was instantly attracted to the sport’s fast pace and required skill level.
Without a high school rugby program, Donovan Aflleje's rugby journey involves competing on club teams, and USA Rugby sanctioned tournaments.
Donovan Aflleje, who plays wing, and fullback for the Kent Crusaders, credits his coach, Isi Talnoa, with growing his love for the sport.
Donovan Aflleje, a member of the Washington Academy of Rugby, will get the chance to compete against a visiting high school team from New Zealand in January. Fully aware of the Kiwi’s passionate play, he expects a fast, athletic game.
“I’m ready,” Aflleje said. “I want to play the best,” adding, it’s the “only way to get better.”
With a goal to play collegiately and make the Men’s United States National Rugby Team, mentors, such as U18 national team player Tohi Angilau inspire Donovan Aflleje.
“He tells me what I need to work on, and is an example of where I want to get,” Donovan Aflleje said.
With Major League Rugby gaining popularity in the U.S., the possibility of someday making the Seattle Seawolves’ roster inspires the education-minded Donovan Aflleje.
“The sport is starting to get a following, where you can go to college and play professional,” said Donovan Aflleje, adding he wants to major in Psychology. “I have to stay hungry, stay dedicated, and keep grinding to get better.”