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MARCH 2024 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MACDOWELLRUGBY Signs Canadian Rugby Favourite Jake Thiel to Coaching Staff

Jake Thiel grew up in a household where rugby was part of the fabric, rugby values were part of the education, and everyone played. 

Jake’s Mom Jen Ross has devoted her life to rugby. She has 4 caps for Canada and has coached since before she hung up her boots. Dad Jon Thiel is a veteran of three Rugby World Cups and played professionally overseas. Jake’s twin brother Josh has also represented Canada in both 7s and XVs and played professionally in Major League Rugby. Now younger brother James is also playing for Canada, bringing the Ross-Thiel representation full circle. Recently, all three brothers took the field together, a Rugby Canada first. Jake hopes it will be the first of many appearances together. 

A star and fan-favourite for the last several years on the 7s circuit, Jake is taking a step back to focus on his health and the next phase of his career. Growing up with rugby at every turn, coupled with an evident talent for teaching and leadership, it is no surprise that the affable Thiel wants to move into coaching: 

“Throughout my playing years I’ve been lucky enough to coach at camps Robin has put on, so I’m excited to now pursue this as a career. My family has been involved in coaching at the grassroots level for years. After both of their respective international careers came to an end, my parents moved into coaching. I’m excited to follow in their footsteps and continue to grow the game in Canada. I want to help challenge our current youth players to rise to become some of the best in the world,” says Thiel. 

In terms of unforgettable moments on the pitch, Jake shared that his proudest moment in 7s was playing with his brother Josh. “Something I hope to do again in the future,” Thiel adds, indicating that the door is not closed on his playing career.

Of the addition, MACDOWELL RUGBY head coach and founder Robin MacDowell says, "the addition of Canadian International and Olympic star Jake Thiel to our coaching staff is undoubtedly an added boost for MACDOWELLRUGBY. Jake's experience as a player on the World Sevens Series will benefit our academy players so much. His success, including captaining the Elite Men's side and winning the 2019 Westshore7s, will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the coaching team.” Jake’s desire to do his best and bring out the best in others will no doubt rub off on the young players, something that MacDowell looks for in his coaching staff. 

“Jake is passionate about coaching and helping athletes achieve their dreams,” MacDowell says. “His transition from playing at an elite level to coaching signifies a commitment to the development and success of the next generation of rugby players. With his background and dedication, Jake is likely to make a positive impact on the players and contribute to the overall success of MACDOWELLRUGBY."

The Jake Thiel Highlight Reel is vast:

  • First cap January 2018

  • 151 games for Canada

  • 39 tournaments

  • 29 tries. 

  • Olympics Rugby 7s

MACDOWELL RUGBY remains committed to coach development throughout Canada and beyond via our full time Island Academy in British Columbia, our Prairie Academy in Saskatchewan, summer camps, and also through our global tours!

For more information, head over to our website: HOME | macdowellrugby

  • Karen Gasbarino, March 2024


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