Maluia, 25 years old, signed with the Hounds after spending the 2023 season with the American Raptors in the Super Rugby Americas competition. The Compton, California native’s professional rugby journey started in 2021 with the Colorado XO development program, which places an emphasis on converting high-end crossover athletes into professional rugby players.
Prior to Maluia’s time in Colorado, the 6-foot, 250-pound outside back was a standout football player. He was a two-way player for Paramount High School, starting at both quarterback and safety, before receiving a scholarship to play at the University of Wyoming. During his 2019 senior season, Maluia registered 61 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, and two interceptions from his linebacker position. He earned All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention honors before declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots selected Maluia in the sixth round of the draft with the 204th overall pick. After training camp, he signed to the Patriots’ practice squad. He was signed to the active roster for multiple games throughout the season, including games against the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots waived Maluia after his rookie season before the linebacker re-signed in August of 2021. He was waived once more before signing with the Tennessee Titans. He was waived a few days later, which led to his decision to convert to rugby.
The powerful outside back first caught the eye of Chicago Head Coach Sam Harris during the team’s lead up to the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The Hounds played the American Raptors during their Preseason Mini Camp held in Panama City Beach and Maluia was one of the players that impressed Chicago’s lead man.