Head coach Rich brings multiple contributions to the Motley coaching staff as a result of over 38 years of active playing experience. He played four years for National Champions University of California, Berkeley, at center. Post Cal, Rich played for the likes of the Sacramento Capitols, the Old Blues, the revived Sacramento Old Boys and the California Bald Eagles. Truly giving back to the game he loves, Rich will serve in his 12th year as a certified rugby referee where he is proud to officiate high school, collegiate and men’s games played by Motley alumni on the pitch. Rich coached the respected Christian Brothers High School rugby team from ’05-’07.
Recruited by Motley to serve as one of its original coaches, Coach Rich has seen many squads taste victory during the Northern California Youth Rugby Championship tournament. This year will be Coach Rich’s 13th year with Motley, having seen the squad grow from fifteen players in 2007 up to 130+ players.
Coach Rich’s son Nick Boyer is a founding player of Motley, class of 2007. Nick played four years at Jesuit and five years at Cal Berkeley, where he won four Sevens National Championships and one Fifteens National Championship. In addition, Nick played U-20s Eagles and was a three time Collegiate All American. Nick furthered his rugby career post Cal, being selected twice each for USA Selects tours to South America for both Sevens and Fifteens; Tiger Rugby in Hong Kong 10s and Melrose Sevens. He currently plays Pro Rugby with San Diego Legion. In 2018 Nick played for the USA Eagles on the Sevens Circuit and was also capped for the Eagles Fifteens in Romania.
Pat Birdsong – U -12 Coach
Coach Pat has been part of the Motley staff for the past six years, coaching all three age grades. Pat also played and coached college football at Sacramento State. It was there that he found rugby. He played two seasons with the Hornet Club Rugby Team as a flanker and sometimes an inside center. His son Oliver is a Motley Alum, having played five years for Motley. He is now at CK McClatchy.
The Motley coach with the greatest international experience is former United States 15 and 7s Eagle John Buchholz. Coach John began playing for the Elsie Allen High School rugby program in 1997 and later went on to win four consecutive national championships while enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley. While at Cal John was named to the Under-19 All American team that toured New Zealand in 1998. Primarily a fullback, Coach John toured Ireland with the Collegiate All American side and made his senior international debut as a member of the national team representing the United States in the 2001 Pan American Games in Canada.
Between 2002 and 2006, Coach John played for the Olympic Club in San Francisco. In addition to his service for the Olympic Club’s Super League squad, in 2003 he was named to the National 7s team that toured Hong Kong, the National 15s team for tours to Spain, Florida, Canada, Russia, and Argentina. Coach John finished the year representing his country in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia. In 2004 Coach John move to Brisbane, Australia to play a season for Brothers Rugby Club. That year he also played for the US 7s team in New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles. He also toured with the 15s side to Canada, Japan, and Connecticut. He has been coaching at Motley since 2011.
Richard Sutherland – U12 Head Coach
Richard Sutherland was around 5 years old when he started playing rugby in a small country town in New Zealand. He played all through his schooling including four years at Boarding School before playing Club Rugby. For most families in New Zealand, rugby is the number one played sport. Richard’s family not only enjoyed participating but were avid fans as well. In 1987 for the very first World Cup, the All Blacks trained at the nearby local rugby field and were housed with the farming families (including his own) during their time there.
Currently Richard continues to enjoy the sport, especially now that his son Benjamin is starting his fourth year with Motley. “I’ve renewed my interest in the sport now that my son is playing. I can’t think of a better way to spend time with him than in playing rugby.”
Brian Guerrero – U-12 Coach
This is Coach Brian’s first year coaching Motley. He began playing rugby his junior year of high-school at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, CA. He went on to be a 4-year starter at Loyola Marymount University. He started out as an outside-center and then moved to Flyhalf his Sophomore year. In his 4 years at Loyola, he won 3 Division II Southern California Regional Championships. He played in three National Championship Tournaments, losing in the semi-finals his junior year to Airforce. He also took part in 3 international rugby tours, playing 5 games in 2 weeks in Argentina, Japan, and France. After college, Coach Brian played in a San Jose Men’s League and helped coach the high-school rugby team he formerly played for. After 8 years of playing, Coach Brian hung up the cleats and graduated from law school.
Gilles Laborde Lagrave – U-10 Coach
Coach Gilles was 5 years old when I started rugby in the tiny village of the mid-west of France. His Grandfather used to say the ball was bigger than his belly. Coach Gilles was more interested by the butterflies and the crickets than by the ball. A few years after with his school team they won the academic cup (40 to 50 middle schools). As a U-14 they lost the national tournament versus Brive. Coach Gilles was selected in the regional team a few times as Prop or hooker, then participated in the national selection stage in Souston in 1987 (High school) trained by the national coach Jean Pierre Elissalde. He was recruited by the club “Section Paloise” where he played few years in first division, the highest level of the competition (not professional at this time). Then he joined the French Army, and had to choose between his career and his passion. He chose his career, but always took any opportunities to play. Coach Gilles represented the army while playing against other countries (KOSOVO, Ivory coast, Comores Island…) as well as against local sides. He followed army classes to coach and to train physically any teams for overseas conflict deployment. Retired as a Sergeant Major, then followed his wife to Sacramento, for a new exciting experience. This is coach Gilles third year coaching U-10s where his son Pierre is in his third year.
Charlie Tschudin – Administrator
Charlie was born and raised in Sacramento, where he attended Crocker-Riverside Elementary, Sutter Middle School and then CK McClatchy High School. He started playing rugby as an eighth grader in 2009 and played through high school. He attended University of Oregon between 2013 and 2017, where he was a four-year starter as a 9 and two-time captain. He is now working as a land-use planner for Yolo County, looking to stay involved in the rugby community.
Founding Members/Former Coaches/Administrators
Matt Eason – Director of Coaching
Coach Matt began his rugby playing career as an Outside Center with the California State University, Sacramento rugby team. He moved to Hooker with the McGeorge School of Law’s Ducks where he served as team Captain, and continued to play at that position for a brief period of time with the Sacramento Men’s Rugby Football Club until he took up officiating.
As a referee, Coach Matt was fortunate to travel all over North America, and to England where he even officiated a match at Cambridge. Subsequent to refereeing actively, he became an International Rugby Board (IRB) Judicial Officer, and has presided over disciplinary matters in several International Test matches, including USA v Ireland and USA v Wales. He continues to serve in that role, and also and serves as a USA Rugby National Panel Referee Coach.
As one of the founding coaches of Land Park Rugby, he has helped bring it from a handful of boys to one of the most respected youth rugby programs in California. His continual emphasis on fun and the respect for the game has resulted in players that once took the pitch at 12 years old now leading high school and college teams. As testament to his commitment to fun, when asked to list his favorite rugby experience, Coach Matt immediately recounts his role as the Kangaroo Court Prosecutor during the first Motley tour of San Diego.
Matt’s son JR played Motley for four years, then four years at Jesuit and one at St. Marys.
Jeff Phillips – Administrator/ U-12 Coach
An original Motley Forwards Coach, Jeff Phillips first played blindside and open side flanker for Boston College in 1982 and went on to earn a starting spot on the varsity squad as a sophomore. From 1989 to 1993, Coach Jeff on a number of historic clubs on both the east and west coach. Jeff played wing, center and hooker for the Santa Monica Rugby Club, inside and outside center for Potomac Athletic Club Coach where he stood tall against such historic clubs as Old Blue, Philly Whitemarsh, Maryland Old Boys , NOVA, and Life Chiropractic. Jeff also played 7s for the BATS and the Los Angles Rugby Club.
Jeff’s son Mason played Motley five years, then Jesuit for four years and is currently a Freshman at University of Arizona. Jeff’s other son Conner played Motley six years and is in his junior year at Jesuit High School.
Steve Nelson – U-10 Head Coach
Steve Nelson, is fondly referred to as “Boris” by his rugby buddies. A High School stand-out football player from Illinois, he ultimately became an Officer and Director with the respected American River Junior Raiders football club, Steve brings a deep respect for youth sports and for making the experience as fun as humanly possible.
Coach Steve took up the sport of Rugby twenty years ago while in Law School with Matt Eason. Knowing nothing about the game at first, Coach Steve was first put at wing and told by the coach, “just catch the ball and run with it.” Unfortunately Coach Steve forgot to tell his coach that without his glasses he couldn’t see the ball to catch. Ultimately, wiser minds prevailed, and Coach Steve was moved to the position of Prop where Coach Matt was his Hooker. The two of them with a fearless third whose name they won’t disclose, traveled all over the Western United States wrecking havoc on other front-rows. If you want to know where Coach Matt’s skeletons are buried, undoubtedly Coach Steve knows where.
On a serious note, Steve is also the proud father to two Motley Alum: WIll and Jacob. Both played four years at Jesuit and Will continues to play at UC Santa Clara. Steve helped coach the inaugural year of the U-10 squad who traveled all over California winning most of their games, and garnered the nickname “Road Warriors”.