Rugby league club Chester Gladiators have pulled off a significant coup with the appointment of USA international Mark Offerdahl as head coach.

Australia-born Offerdahl, whose father is American. was a key figure in the Tomahawks’ run to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup quarter finals, where the USA bowed out to eventual winners Australia.

He joined Championship club North Wales Crusaders at the end of the tournament and the 26-year-old has now agreed to become head coach of the Gladiators, who compete in the North West Men’s League.

Gladiators development officer Paul Foster said the club was thrilled to have Offerdahl on board.

He said: “We have been looking for a new head coach for some time and as soon as we heard Mark was interested it was a no-brainer.

“He’s someone who lives and breathes rugby league, he’s very knowledgeable about the game as you would expect and we think it’s a huge step forward for us.

“We have been putting the pieces of the jigsaw together over the past 12 months and this is another part of that.

“We are really exciting about continuing our development and there is a lot of positivity around the club.”

Offerdahl, who is a qualified personal trainer, plans to settle in the Chester area and will be launching his own business in the coming weeks.

He said: “I’m delighted to take on the role and I’m really looking forward to helping the club develop.

“I’m extremely passionate about rugby league and will be looking to use my experience to help the squad push on and improve.

“The club has got great facilities and it sounds like there is huge potential for the game of rugby league in the area.”

Gladiators entertain league leaders Leyland Warriors at The Cheshire County Sports Club on Saturday (2.30pm).

Chester face a stiff test to get back to winning ways after going down 34-20 at home to Blackpool Scorpions last weekend.

Stand off Declan Foy crossed twice with half back Mark Kingsley and hooker Dan Rowett touching down for tries but the home side paid the price for a slow start as the Scorpions came out on top.