by Tori Pizzuto

SAN DIEGO, California (February 14, 2020) – The Strike Force have acquired defensive lineman Pio Vatuvei from the Spokane Shock in exchange for future considerations in prep for the 2020 Indoor Football League season.

Vatuvei (6-2, 270, University of Louisville) joins San Diego after spending time with the Jacksonville Axeman of the USA Rugby League, the USA Hawks and the Utah Warriors of Major League Rugby. Prior to pursuing rugby, he attended the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie minicamp in 2016.

“Pio was a guy that we had targeted in the offseason so we’re excited to add him into the mix to compete in training camp,” said Strike Force General Manager Ryan Eucker. “He’s a powerful athlete that we believe can transition well to the indoor game and bring a unique skill set as an edge rusher. We appreciate Coach Shannon Potts bringing him into our view and are excited to see him on the field on February 22.”

Collegiately, Vatuvei appeared in 24 games over two seasons at the University of Louisville. He totaled 44 tackles, two sacks and eight tackles for loss. Before his time as a Cardinal, he attended San Mateo Community College finishing with 35 tackles over one season including 6.5 sacks in 11 games. Out of high school he was recruited to the University of Washington where he played one season appearing in nine games and recording seven tackles.

Originally from Patterson California, he attended Patterson High School where he earned Division II all-state first-team honors from and was named to Cal-Hi Sports medium-sized schools’ all-state team. He was also voted first-team All-Western Athletic Conference performer, helping the Tigers to a berth in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, including being named the Western Athletic Conference Outstanding Defensive Lineman and was named to the Tacoma News-Tribune's Western 100.