Rugby mad Tom Green is aiming for the top in Guatemala to make rugby league their national sport.
Tom (24), of Appleton Warrington, worked in the Gladstone Brookes (GB) contact centre on customer service. But in May last year he decided he wanted to travel the world in pursuit of his rugby passion.
Tour the world
A physical education graduate of Leeds Metropolitan University, he told his friends at GB that he intended to tour the world and concentrate on countries which have a strong connection with rugby.
Six months ago he found himself in the Central American country of Guatemala that boasts six rugby union teams, but has no links with rugby league.
Found a rugby team
Said Tom: “I just came out here travelling initially, and ended up staying in Guatemala – I found a rugby team and started playing for them.
“I’ve always been a rugby league fan, and with Warrington being a rugby league town I grew up playing rugby league. Rugby isn’t very big over here and they only play rugby union at the moment.
“I went to university with a guy who is quite high up in the RFL, and we’re trying to establish the sport of rugby league in Guatemala. We’re starting a big campaign to make it the national sport of Guatemala.”
GB team leader Rachel Ashton said: “Tom’s a great guy and I’m not surprised he’s ended up where he is. He’s a lovely man, always friendly and happy to help, but he has a passion for rugby and when he left he told us he intended to go to countries with strong rugby links. We all wish him well.”
Tom currently plays for Antigua Rugby Club, but is planning to hold coaching sessions in neighbouring El Salvador later this month.
He plans to stay in Guatemala for another year and help to try to get a team in the rugby sevens at the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
Said Tom: “I’ve always played both sports and it’s a good opportunity to introduce them to Guatemala, and the standard is a lot better than I thought it would be when I started playing.
“We’re trying to get a Guatemala v El Salvador game set up for August in a Central American test match.
“The RFL also want to set up a type of Great Britain concept in Central America, with a combined team from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
“It’ll be quite an experience and we’re looking forward to getting everything up and running.”
- Pictures courtesy of Tom Green