The former American football player has thrived since converting to rugby
Who is Perry Baker: Ten things you should know about the USA Sevens wing
Perry Baker is among the deadliest finishers on the sevens circuit. After his NFL dreams were shattered by injury, the wing has turned to rugby to display his limitless athletic ability.
Ten things you should know about Perry Baker
1. Perry Baker was born on 29 June 1986 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. He stands at 6ft 1in (1.85m) and weighs 12st 8lb (80kg).
2. He played American football for Fairmont State University in West Virginia as a receiver, before being signed by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011. However, a knee injury ended his NFL career prematurely.
3. Once his knee had healed, Baker began playing rugby regularly for the Daytona Beach Coconuts club.
4. In 2013, after an underwhelming period playing in the Arena Football League, Baker reached out to his high school football coach, who secured him a month-long trial at Tiger Rugby Academy in Columbus, Ohio.
5. Baker’s remarkable pace subsequently put him on the radar of USA selectors searching for new talent ahead of rugby sevens’ introduction at the 2016 Olympics. He made his World Sevens Series debut in the 2014-15 season and scored his first try against Argentina in Gold Coast.
6. He scored 28 tries in his debut campaign and was nominated for the competition’s Rookie of the Year award.
7. Baker credits his football background for his swift understanding of the nuances behind defending in rugby. In 2016, he told The Guardian: “As far as me being a receiver, playing in a football league, I had to read defences, I had to set up the opposite man, things like that. In rugby that all goes hand in hand.”
8. He amassed a world-leading 57 tries in the 2016-17 Sevens Series, earning him the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year award. He won it again in 2018, becoming the first male player to claim the accolade twice.
9. Baker became the second American, after Carlin Isles, to score 200 sevens tries when he crossed against Scotland in Los Angeles in 2020.
10. He overcame a leg injury to make the Tokyo Olympics and scored two tries in USA’s quarter-final with England, but could not prevent the Eagles losing 26-21.
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