Gaddis Has His Eyes on The Prize
Lamonte Gaddis, or Monte as he’s better known, is a crossover athlete whose immediate goal is to get himself into the USA Hawks train-on squad for that qualifying series.
Gaddis, who hails from Cleveland, is a former football player. He was a running back at the University of Maryland before transferring to Towson University where he played middle linebacker.
Following college, he had a stint in the Indoor Football League with the Iowa Barnstormers, but that’s all in the rearview mirror and this season he has been playing rugby league with Red Star Belgrade.
Gaddis had been playing for an amateur league club in Dewsbury in the UK and credits social media for helping him find his way to the Serbian club.
“As you know, social media has been a big part of my success especially when you have different spectators watching from difficult areas around the world,” he said. “Thankfully Red Star Belgrade saw my videos from Shaw Cross Sharks and loved what they saw.”
He says it took three games to crack the starting side as he had to convince the coaches that he had game smarts and the endurance to play the full 80 minutes.
So, how did he get into the 13-man game in the first place?
“I was introduced to rugby league by the Toronto Wolfpack trials after being released by the Iowa Barnstormers.
“The Wolfpack trials made me study the game much more and raised my attention of how it’s one of the greatest games in the world.”
And how does league stack up against football?
“In my opinion, they both are different versions of football, tackling and running the ball,” Gaddis continued.
“I say American Football is more dangerous and has more explosive plays within six seconds each play, while rugby league is continuously running that can go as long as two minutes.”
The plan is to get on the radar of the Hawks’ coaching staff so that he’ll be in the mix for the RLWCQ.
“Yes, that is the goal to be a part of the USA squad. I’m working hard to gain the attention of the coaches and scouts. I can really see my progression from having the trials with the Wolfpack to my last match here in Serbia, it’s amazing!”
However, representing the USA isn’t his only goal. He also hopes to get a trial with an NRL or Super League team at some point in the future.
“I came into rugby league to play at the highest level,” he added.
“I know it won’t be easy, but my life hasn’t been the easiest walk in the park. I’m willing to go that extra mile to make my dreams become reality and I feel myself getting closer each day.”
As a sidebar to both his short and long-term goals, Gaddis plans to host a combine this summer in Cleveland with the hopes of attracting more crossover athletes, along with anyone else interested in forming a rugby league team in his hometown.
The plan is to have that team join the USA Rugby League clubs competition, perhaps in a proposed Midwest Conference.