Born in Traverse City, Michigan to Robert and Cathy Thiel. Played football, wrestled and ran track in high school before finding rugby senior year and playing for the Traverse Bay Alliance RFC. Played one year of football at Saginaw Valley State University before switching to rugby. Spent one year playing club rugby for the Traverse Bay Blues RFC before they were gracious enough to send him to England to play for Cinderford RFC. Played one season in Cinderford before returning to the US to play for the Life University Division I men’s team. Was fortunate to win the 2008 Men’s Division I national championship before Life became a member of the Super League.
Won first cap in 2009 versus Uruguay and was fortunate enough to play three years with the Eagles, culminating with the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. Took nearly a year and a half off from rugby.