The Oneida Nation has yet another stellar young athlete hoping to make it in a big-time college program. Floyd King, 18, who recently graduated from West De Pere High School, has received a scholarship to play rugby for Division I Lindenwood University-Belleville in southern Illinois.
King, who has only been playing rugby for four years, was introduced to the sport by a relative. “I played baseball until my freshman year and just kind of got out of it,” King said. “My first experience with rugby was when cousin asked me to come to a practice with him. It turns out they didn’t have enough people to play and suddenly I was playing in a game.”
King eventually played several seasons with the Green Bay Mavericks Rugby team, a local high school club team made up of players from Green Bay East, Preble, and West De Pere High Schools. “I play in what’s called the pack,” King said. “I play in the front row of the pack which is typically made up of your bigger, more physical players.”
It’s that physical nature to this unique team sport that King loves most about the game. “The physicality of the sport is definitely my main point,” King said. “I also really love the camaraderie. This is a different sport. It’s not like football where even after the game sometimes you guys don’t like each other but at the end of our games there’s always big socials so you get to meet and talk to other players. We play hard, physical games but afterwards we’ll all be laughing and having fun.”
As King’s reputation on the rugby pitch grew, he had the chance to meet Lindenwood-Belleville’s head coach who came to watch him play. “A lot of the coaches were telling him to check me out and give me an offer,” King said. “Then those coaches came and watched me play and that’s when they made me the offer.”
An exceptional student as well as athlete, King will pursue his bachelor’s degree in exercise science and plans on coming back to the Oneida area once he graduates from college. He also thinks rugby will continue to grow in popularity around Wisconsin. “I sure it’s going to keep growing,” King said. “I think it would be cool if more native kids picked up the sport but I know it’s usually during lacrosse season.
But this is something new, something different, but it’s a lot of fun and as far as I know there are only four Native American kids who play organized rugby in the Green Bay area.
“It’s not just a great sport, it’s also a great community, a great family,” King said. “There’s a lot of support behind it. And everybody’s really nice, so it’s not just a bunch of big brutes out there hitting each other. This is a sport that you can easily work your way into.”
King is the son of Shannon Metoxen and William King of Oneida.