Cody Schaeffer started playing rugby on the field outside of Charles Hays Secondary School, and now he is getting a chance to represent Prince Rupert overseas in Dubai.
The Emirates Airline Rugby seven’s tournament invites teams from across the world to compete and features elite-level competition.
Currently, Schaeffer is living in Vancouver playing with a club called the Meralomas, but he said he never would have dreamt of getting this opportunity.
“For me it’s shocking, I was warned about it around a month ago, but I didn’t think much of it, but a few weeks ago I got the call, and I had to say ‘yes’ instantly,” Schaeffer said, “there was no hesitation, for people to believe that I can play at that level, it makes me speechless.”
A track star as well as a basketball player, Schaeffer made the team without meeting his new coach; he was scouted and referred by coaches in his league.
His new coach with the Barbarians, Cam Wilton, said it doesn’t take much to see the kind of natural ability Schaeffer is gifted with.
“We are going to put him in a position to use his assets… he can excel with his athletic ability and fitness, guys will try to get him the ball in the open field,” Wilton said.
The tournament is played at a higher level than anything Schaeffer has experienced before, but Wilton believes Schaeffer is up for the challenge.
“His learning curve is going to be the steepest in the group, things are going to be going 100 miles an hour for him when he comes out the other side he’s going to be a different player.”
Reality has yet to sink in for Schaefer, but the small town kid knows what lies ahead.
“I’m over the moon with excitement, I know in about three or four days I’m going to get butterflies and probably get nauseous, this is the biggest tournament I’ve ever done,” he said.
Starting from humble beginnings on the wet fields of Charles Hays Secondary School, to an internationally recognized tournament, Schaeffer hopes to inspire the next generation of Rupert’s rugby players.
“I feel pride for representing my Prince Rupert Seaman team, the Meralomas and to come from a small town and not have the big amount of exposure and show that small town athletes do have a shot, I’m definitely proud,” Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer hopes that one day he can wear the maple leaf on the world stage but he knows that he’s got a long way to go.
“I’d like to see myself on team Canada eventually I’ve got a lot to work on, but that’s my end goal,” Schaeffer said.