A strapping athlete barrels down the field holding tight to the ball and then lays it down for a try! The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs rugby team of Australia has won, and they couldn’t have done it without their teammate Will Hopoate.

This rugby athlete of extraordinary skill will be a keynote speaker at the RootsTech Connect online family celebration conference! This amazing man, with a strong connection to his family and roots, is sure to be inspiring.

RootsTech Connect takes place on 25–27 February 2021. If you haven’t registered yet, sign up for free!

Who Is Will Hopoate?

William Hopoate was born in 1992 in New South Wales, Australia, and is of Tongan descent. Hopoate is also known as “Viliami” in Tongan, but he often goes by the nickname of “Hoppa.”

Hopoate began playing for the National Rugby League (NRL) when he was 18 years old. He started his professional career playing for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

Will Hopoate’s Latter-day Saint Mission

After just one year of professional rugby, Hopoate decided to put his career on hold to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During 2012 and 2013, Hopoate served in the Australia Brisbane Mission.

He was often recognized for his status as a professional rugby player during his mission, but friends said he “never gloated about his time in the NRL.” One friend further said of meeting someone new, “Eventually, [people] would see the name badge and say there was a famous footballer with that last name. But being the humble man he is, he always just said, ‘Yeah, there’s some relation there.’ He always made them put the puzzle together; he’d never be the one to say anything about who he was.”

After returning from his two-year mission, Hopoate returned to the NRL and played with the Parramatta Eels. He currently plays for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs as a fullback. In 2019, Hopoate was named the Bulldogs Player of the Year.

Will Hopoate and Family

In 2015, Hopoate married Jimicina Green. Together, they have four children. In a recent post on Instagram, Jimicina says of her and Will’s family ideals, “The culture of Christ will always take precedence to our Maori and Tongan culture, [but] both cultures have enriched and blessed our family’s life.”

Join the world of family history enthusiasts at RootsTech Connect 2021 as Will shares his thoughts on family roots, ideals, and the world of rugby. You won’t want to miss it!

RootsTech 2021 Keynote Speakers

Source: New on FamilySearch