Toronto’s Ryan Burroughs says fellow USA teammate and captain Mark Offerdahl was instrumental in helping him secure a place in the Wolfpack team.
Burroughs only started playing Rugby League three years ago and even dabbled in Rugby Union.
“The guy who actually captained the USA team Mark Offerdahl and my agent Brett Norman got my name out there,” he told Love Rugby League.
“He called me in the early stages and said Toronto are going to be starting a full-time professional team.
“I didn’t really want to go anywhere else I had my heart set on Toronto and they made it happen so I’m glad to be here.”
The former Northern Virginia Eagles man started off playing Rugby Union but found it hard to adapt then a friend suggested the sister code as a more attractive proposition.
“My friend Chris Frazer from back home in America always asked me to come out because I played football with him so I went and played Union with him,” he said.
“I was like yes its fine but the game is kind of confusing and he said there’s a better version of it in the summer time which was Rugby League.
“I played just one match and fell in love with the sport.”
When asked about the Wolfpack’s chances in League One, Burroughs was quietly confident and pointed to the amount of experience within the squad.
“We have a lot of guys who have Super League experience and played at a high level, New South Wales Cup and Queensland Cup over in Australia,” he said.
“Everyone is out there having fun and I think we’ll turn a lot of heads this year.”
Burroughs believes the emergence of the Wolfpack is a huge positive for the growth of the game over in Canada.
The club first submitted an application back in 2014 and was granted permission to start off in League One after initially being refused entry to Super League.
“I can only imagine it’s making pathways for people in the Canadian league,” he said.
“People want to progress because there is a professional team they can make it to which is huge not just for Canada but the USA as well.
“I know a lot of boys from the USARL were looking to get a spot on this team and are going to continue to work to be able to get more chances to come try out.”
Burroughs is hoping for a good season with the Wolfpack before making a positive impression with the USA at the World Cup later this year.
“I know a lot of the guys who played in the last World Cup want to reach the same stage as last time,” he said.
“We’re aiming for that and obviously we want to go higher.
“I think we will have a few NRL boys so it should be a pretty solid team.”
When asked about the scale of the achievement Burroughs admitted it was massive especially the way they battled to victory against Canada in qualifying.
“It’s a huge feat because the Jamaican side we played was real tough and Canada were tough as well.
“In the game against Canada we had 12 men for the whole second half of the game so the odds were against us but we were able to pull through and it was just a phenomenal feeling.”