David Klenk: Welcome to another Saints Spotlight. Today we are interviewing Matias Caramuti and Tomas Casares. International students and rugby players for the Saints. Matias and Tomas were both part of the 2021 National Championship rugby team and both were drafted to play professional rugby entering the 2022 academic year. Congratulations to both of you guys and welcome.
Matias Caramuti: Thank you very much.
DK: Starting off, what is your background in sports? Can you tell us how you got into rugby, first with Matias?
MC: When I was born, my father was the president of my rugby club, Uru Curé, and he wanted me to play rugby so bad because he was in love with the sport but I never enjoyed the sport when I was younger, so I tried every sport – soccer, basketball, I took swimming lessons, everything, and at the age of six years old, I try one more time, rugby, and I just fell in love with that, so that was how I ended with rugby.
DK: And Tomas?
Tomas Casares: I would like it because I went to one of the few schools that has rugby here in Argentina. So, I started playing Rugby in first grade.
DK: Awesome! And how did you guys find Thomas More University and know it was the school for you?
MC: We were in lockdown in Argentina because of the covid and my club gave us some way to keep working on our physique and I decided to make a highlight video and start looking for universities in Google Maps so I found Thomas More and I send an email to the coach with a highlight video and I got an answer. I decided to take the opportunity.
DK: There you go. Tomas, how did you find Thomas More University and how did you know it was the school for you?
TC:In my case, I was contacted by an agency because we had the lockdown go down here. We were looking for opportunities, so they helped put me in contact with the coach. I also knew that there were already a few Argentinian guys they were going to get later that year.
DK: Can you tell us a little bit about your field of study and why it is important to you?
MC: I’m studying business administration and now I’m doing the master program here. First of all, I decided to study business because I wanted to expand my family business, which is a travel agency, and keep growing the business, and that was my motivation to get into this field. After a few years I studied in Argentina, and here. I took two years in Argentina, two years here in America. I really like it and I think it’s useful in every stage of your life. You have to have some administration skills and then just related to business.
DK: That’s right. And Tomas, can you tell us a little about your field of study and why it’s important to you?
TC: Yes, I studied sports entertainment marketing. I think I’m pretty interested in my major and is a classical major because I want to continue my life in sports and the sports industry. So, I think it’s key for my work in the future to study what I’m studying right now.
DK: Right on. And what would you say are your top three takeaways from the last year in this year of successful rugby seasons?
MC: I would say I think the most important is the group of friends that we made. We were like a family. So, you know it’s hard to take down a family when it’s really close to each other, and I feel that that way so that helps us a lot in the rugby part of it. And then of course the national championship. That was great and it was an amazing feeling. All the path to the nationals, it was just amazing.
DK: And Tomas, what were your big three takeaways from this last season here at Thomas More?
TC: I wouldn’t take two or three, I would say that there was a main one that took us from the beginning, from the first season I was here to the end of the last season. And it is that throughout the season we grew better as a team and as a group. I think that was one of the keys to get the national championship and to build that team that we were able to build. I think as a person I grow and the team grow for leaving that legacy that the coach wanted us to be on as well.
DK: That’s right. Do you have any expectations? Did you have any expectations assigned with the pro team and what was your friends and family’s reaction to the news?
MC: So, if I’m 100% honest, I wasn’t expecting to sign or to get drafted. But, after the Championship rugby with Tomas and Hudson, we went to Utah to play. I wouldn’t say I had expectations, but I had hope that someone could pick me and the eighteenth of ours when we received the news and we saw our names on TV, I was with Thomas and Hudson and we were incredibly happy. It was a dream that came true that day. My family and friends, we couldn’t believe it. It’s just crazy. I’m really excited to be in Dallas and start training with the with the team and start meeting all my teammates. I’m really excited.
DK: And Tomas, did you have any expectations signing with the pro team?
TC: In my personal opinion, from that experience, I had a little bit of expectations. It was one of the reasons I went through Thomas More as well, so I was really nervous, and I didn’t know if that was going to happen, but I definitely wanted that and I worked for that so that made that moment really emotional with my family and with Matias and Hudson because the three of us worked really hard to try to get a chance like that. And to see you put in a lot of hard work you don’t get it so when you get it it’s really emotional and really happy moment.
DK: That’s right, and you guys certainly have earned it with rugby being one of the most crazily physical and demanding sports that we’ve had. It’s a relatively new sport that you guys have been able to captivate so many people who I can remember when I was a freshman back in 2018 or so, the rugby team was rather small and then all of a sudden it just, like overnight almost, felt like the team went from zero to hero and crazy domination and everything so all the hard work that you guys have been doing it makes sense how it’s paying off for you guys. And with that, besides playing pro rugby, what are their plans do you guys have post-graduation?
MC: Post graduation, and after this next year playing professional rugby, I would like to keep in the field and as I say I’m doing my MBA program, so first finish with that, my education. I’m going to continue staying with the playing and then we’ll see what the future has for me. I’m going to put 100% of my energy in finishing my studies and then playing rugby and then we’ll see. Probably travel and find something to do with my family business, as I said.
DK: Tomas, what are your plans post-graduation and besides rugby?
TC: At this moment, I’m focusing on my rugby career because I can do what I want to do while a professional player. That is, being a general manager or either trying to make a franchise that is in Cincinnati for m&r in the future. So, for now I’m just focusing on rugby as a player and ready for an opportunity to open for when I finished my career and get a chance to build a new franchise.
DK: Awesome. When does your season start with your respective teams?
The calendar is not released yet, because that’s the m&r to release, but I have to be there in Texas, Dallas on January first.
DK: January first. And is that around the same for you Tomas?
TC: Yeah, for me, we start pre-season on January the first.
DK: Gotcha. Do you guys have any advice for fellow students?
MC: Well, If I can give them advice I would say work hard. If you work harder you will get what you want or what you desire and just work hard. I think our experience is great because we came here to Cincinnati or Crestview Hills, Kentucky from Argentina with probably not the best level of English and we both made it through all of our semesters here. We won a national championship with the rugby team and now we’re going to play pro so I would say just work hard and dreams come true.
DK: That’s right. Any closing remarks, Tomas?
TC: Yeah, I agree 100% with Matias. In addition, I would say that there is a time and a place where working hard pays off and that doesn’t happen everywhere, and I think that’s something to take advantage of to work hard and be focused and enjoy your experience while you’re there.
DK: Right on. Well, thank you very much for joining us from Argentina today, Tomas. We appreciate it. And thank you, Matias, for joining us today. And thank you guys for watching this edition of Saints spotlight. Tune in for the next one.