Young winger/fullback John Rizzo has been signed for a second season by Old Glory DC. The 24-year-old grew up in Indiana, playing for IUPUI and Army-West Point in university. After moving to the DC area, he played for Washington Irish and Young Glory's u23 team.

Rizzo was a surprise late signing last year, appearing in OGDC's preseason match against Toronto without any prior announcement. He was then officially signed by the team in early May, playing in all five of Old Glory's remaining matches and starting in one of them, for total of 131 minutes on the pitch.

Statistically, it's too soon to make any strong assessments, but the signs are promising. Rizzo gained 64 meters on the season, for an average of 8 meters per carry, which is middling for a winger. However, he also beat 5 defenders, which is very impressive given that he only had 8 carries. It's a small sample size, but if he can keep up even half that rate he would still be leading the team. He also did well defensively, making 88% of his tackles with 2 of them being dominant tackles. Granted, this is all on a small sample size of just 17 attempted tackles, but even if these numbers fall off slightly he could still be one of the best defending backs on the team.

Rizzo could have some stiff competition for playing time, given the boatload of talent that the team has in the back three. Peni Lasaqa and Mike Dabulas are most likely to start, with Junior Sa'u and Doug Fraser also great options. Renata Roberts-Te Nana isn't confirmed to be returning yet, but he would also certainly start if he does. That leaves Rizzo in the soup of promising youngsters who will be competing for whatever playing time is left. Owen Sheehy is likely his primary competition and has already been re-signed, but Jack Russell, LJ Koi Larbi, and Palema Roberts will also be in the mix if they return. Rizzo's best path to playing time might be proving himself as a great defensive player, especially since that's something the team struggled with last year. If he can be a reliable option on the wing, it would put him ahead of less proven options.

It's always good to see a promising young talent return, especially one who has come through Young Glory and OGDC's local development pathways. This is exactly the sort of player that the academy sides are intended to identify and provide opportunities for, and it's great to see them producing talent already.


Curious who has been signed and who is leaving? Check out our 2023 Signings Tracker for all the updates!


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