Jul. 8—From the moment Bradford's Cam Davidowicz stepped onto the rugby pitch, as a high school freshman, it was pure love.
Now, more than a decade later, that passion has only grown for the 25-year-old, who is climbing the professional rugby ranks.
"I love everything about rugby," he said. "I love every minute of playing it. My favorite part is the pace it's played. Rugby is a game of 80 minutes of non-stop action."
Last month, Davidowicz signed a contact to join the training squad for the New England Free Jacks of Major League Rugby, the premier rugby league in the United States, which consists of a 12-team league throughout USA and Canada.
"I'm so privileged to be a part of the Free Jacks," he said. "I'm ecstatic. I've worked so hard, and this has proven all this work has paid off. As of now, I'm on a training contract, but that could change any day and I could be called up onto the roster."
Davidowicz — a 6-foot-1, 225-pound "loss forward" — long ago caught the eye of the coaching staff for the Free Jacks, who joined the MLR in 2020 and whose owners include former New England Patriots Patrick Chung and Nate Ebner.
"We've been keenly monitoring Cam's progress," said Free Jacks performance manager Tom Kindley in a press release. "As soon as the league's COVID protocols allowed, Cam was the first player we extended an invitation to. A player who has all the physical attributes, we could see him become a quality MLR player in years to come."
Davidowicz discovered rugby while a freshman at Whittier Tech (class of 2015).
"My brother had some friends who played rugby," he said. "They kept trying to get me out to play. It took a while, but it was the best decision I made. I loved rugby the moment I started training, even before my first game."
Davidowicz began playing for the Essex County Bulldogs, a team based in Newburyport that plays teams throughout New England. They won four state titles, and traveled to play in England.
He then moved on to Plymouth State, where he played for the school's club team, the Norsemen.
"We won a lot of games at Plymouth," he said. "I wouldn't say it was from skill. Everybody on that team would do anything for each other. It meant a lot to play as a Norseman."
Since 2019, Davidowicz has played for the Mystic River Rugby Club out of Malden, a member of the American Rugby Premiership, He joined a year after they won the USA Rugby Division 1 national title.
"Mystic is a top tier club," he said. "That's the highest level to play in America besides the MLR. Playing for Mystic has been a very positive experience that has given me many opportunities and great traveling experiences."
Mystic River recently kicked off its summer season, and the team supports Davidowicz sharing his time between their squad and the Free Jacks.
"The Mystic community is ecstatic for Cam to be called to the Free Jacks," said Mystic River coach Kayne Bubb in a press release. "He's a special talent, no doubt. He's a real threat on both sides of the ball and was outstanding for Mystic during the spring season. We look forward to seeing Cam take his game to new heights."
FREE JACKS PROSPECT
While he's not yet on the Free Jacks' game roster, Davidowicz is busy at work with the team.
"Being on a training contract, I still participate in everything the team does from film to weightlifting to on-field training," he said. "My main goal is to make the 23-man roster. The Free Jacks are an up-and-coming team in a sport that's growing fast in the USA."
Davidowicz next hopes to earn a contract for 2022, with New England or someone in the MLR.
"I'd like to sign a contract with the Free Jacks, especially because they're my home team," he said. "But I'm willing to sign with another team. I'd like to find a team where I will get the most playing time and have the best experience."
RUGBY AND FARMING
When Bradford's Cam Davidowicz isn't pursuing his rugby dream, he's busy working at his family farm, known as Crescent Farm, which "features 400 acres of pumpkin patches, gourds, hay fields, corn fields, and produce" according to its website.
Davidowitz's jobs include baling hay, picking pumpkins and feeding cows.
"I've worked there my whole life," he said. "I've been very lucky to work on my family farm, because it gives me the opportunity to take time off for rugby which my parents love."