Paul Scanlan: leaving football to pursue a career in rugby

The 2019-20 World Rugby Sevens is the 21st annual series of rugby sevens tournaments for national men’s rugby sevens teams. This season is going to have ten events in five different continents and the first event will take place in Dubai this weekend. You might be asking yourself why Oceania Football Center is writing about it, but it is just an introduction to talk about a specific person: Paul Scanlan.

Scanlan is a 23 years old rugby player from Samoa that is currently in Dubai to play this tournament. One year ago he was getting ready to play another important champioship: The OFC Football Champions League.

Scanlan playing for Kiwi FC in 2019 OFC Champions League.

He was one of the most promising footballers in Samoa being part of the National Football Team with just 19 years old. Scanlan also has a great record at OFC Champions League with seven goals scored in six matches – including preliminary round and group stage. He was a key player for Kiwi FC in the preliminary round of 2019 OFC Champions League helping his team to qualify for the group stage. However he did not take part of Kiwi’s squad in the group stage because he stopped playing football.

Football is a millionaire sport around the world but it is not the reality in Oceania. Rugby is the most popular sport in the region so players can be more recognized as a rugby player. While Oceania fights for a spot in Inter-Confederation Play-off for FIFA World Cup, they have five direct spots for Rugby World Cup. Scanlan is not the first and he will not be the last player to leave football to play rugby in Oceania.

Paul Scanlan playing rugby for Samoa National Team

Scanlan is having a huge opportunity in rugby, playing against the best players of the world and probably earning an amount of money he would not earn in football. He has really taken the right decision for a Samoan player.

Football popularity is increasing slowly in Oceania. Anyway it seems that it is going to take a long long time for Oceanian football develop to a proper level.

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