CHEK Upside: Victoria rugby player signs first pro contract in New Orleans

CHEK Upside: Victoria rugby player signs first pro contract in New Orleans
WatchVictoria's Lachlan 'Lockie' Kratz has signed his first professional rugby contract in the United States.

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Lachlan ‘Lockie’ Kratz’s love for the game started by following his big brother on the pitch.

“Growing up I was always playing guys older than me because my brother, he’s two years older than I am,” said the Victoria native.

“He’s always kind of been playing up in that sense,” said Gavin Kratz, Lockie’s older brother. “Even though he’s younger and people were gonna pick on him more, he just got better.”

He starred at Oak Bay Secondary, then went onto help the University of Victoria Vikes capture the Canadian University Championship.

Simultaneously, throughout his youth, he represented Canada on the world stage and had big plans prior to the pandemic.

“We had a bunch of tours with the Under 20 national program to go to Europe and Uruguay as well,” said Lockie.

Those trips were cancelled due to COVID-19.

With no competitive rugby in sight and his developing years passing by, Lockie decided to lift and train extra hard. By March of 2021, the 21-year-old had gained approximately ten pounds of muscle and was ready for the next level. At around the same time, Lockie noticed that Major League Rugby had returned after a forced closure due to the pandemic.

“I was like ‘okay, if they’re playing rugby there hopefully I could join in and get a couple games in,'” said Lockie.

Lockie called around to any MLR team that would pick up the phone. He also used his local rugby connections, as many Victoria rugby players and coaches have ties to the MLR. It wasn’t long until the NOLA Gold franchise reached out to Lockie, offering him a tryout with the club. Although he was in the middle of his semester at UVic, Lockie packed his bags and headed to New Orleans. Within just a few weeks, Lockie native signed his first professional rugby contract. He’d proceed to balance training and studying while attending classes online.

“I’m so proud actually even thinking about it I’ll probably get a tear in my eye,” said Lisa Kratz, Lockie’s mother. “I think it says he’s got grit, he’s got determination.”

“It was just a massive relief and just overwhelmed with joy,” said Lockie.

Although he’s been with the team for just over a month, the MLR rookie is already starting matches and playing big minutes. Kratz is expected to stay with the team throughout the season which runs until August.

Lockie Kratz bet on himself and won. A lesson that he’ll carry on throughout his career.

“I came in on my own and was very happy I took the risk and it paid off,” said Lockie.

Meanwhile, separated from her son for the first time, his mother has but one important request.

“Call your mom, Lockie,” she exclaimed.

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Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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