USA captain Todd Clever helped rugby pull a double as www.international-athlete.com named him men’s International Athlete of the Year, following their pick of CJ Hildreth as their women’s athlete of the year.
With their permission, here is a reprint of their article on Clever:
Because the single largest sporting event of 2011 was the Rugby World Cup, which brought together athletes from around the globe to compete in cities in New Zealand throughout the months of September and October 2011, International Athlete has chosen to honor rugby players as both our featured “Male and Female Athletes of the Year.”
With that in mind, the best choice for a male athlete to be featured is USA’s Eagles current captain, Todd “Jackhammer” Clever. Todd Stranger Clever was born on 16 January 1983 in Palm Springs, California. He has turned to rugby during his time at the Santa Teresa high school, and in the year 2000 he was named to the USA U19 team. In college, he played for University of Nevada and while there he was a 3-time College All-American.
Measuring 6 ft 4 in and weighing 213 lb, he is an American Rugby Union player, holding the position of flanker, except for the time while he played for the USA Sevens, where he played as a prop.
Todd’s current team is Suntory of Japan which he has joined in June 2010. He has also played for the South African Lions during the 2009 Super 14, being the first American ever to play in the Super 14 and also is the first American to score the first try in Super 14. Before playing for the Lions he played in the National Provincial Championship, in New Zealand for North Harbour.
His international career started at the age of 20, during a game against Argentina in August 2003. Clever was part of the USA team for the World Cup in 2007.
For some time now, Todd Clever has been chosen captain and became the face of the national rugby team, the Eagles. He led his team to victory in the 2009 game against Uruguay and scored two tries. Through that win, the Eagles went to the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Honors that have been awarded to him throughout his career to date:
• U-19 National Team Member (2000–2002)
• 3-time College All-American (2002–2004)
• USA Eagles (7s)
• USA Eagles (XVs)
• Captain USA Eagles (XVs)
• First American to play in the Super 14
• First American to score a try in the Super 14
• 2006 ARN Player of the Year
• 2008 World Rugby Shop's USA Rugby Men's Player of the Year
• 2008 USA Rugby Men's Player of the Year
• 2009 RUGBYMag.com Player of the Year
• 2009 RUGBYMag.com Overseas Performer of the Year
• North American Rugby Player of the Decade 2000-2009
• RuggaMatrix USA Player of the Decade 2000-2009
All the information offered up to this point make it clear why Todd Clever is our choice for Male Athlete of the Year. To review:
• He was the Captain of the USA Eagles for the 2011 Rugby World Cup
• He has a wide range of global experience as an athlete
• He has breached barriers and set records throughout his entire career
• And he has exceptional work ethic, which is displayed all over the internet by looking at his filmed practice sessions.
Overall, Todd Clever is the definition of a global competitor, an international celebrity, and an ideal model of an “international athlete.” Athletes everywhere would do well to hold him in admiration.