This past weekend, Mobile Area Rugby Foundation Battleship Rugby launched their Spring rugby campaign. The Spring league runs every Sunday from now through early June and is hosted by Spring Hill College. Our first session of the season introduced over 30 participants, ranging in age from 6 to 16, to the newest Olympic sport. We have nearly two dozen more committed through the remainder of the season. Registration is still open but will not be for long. For more information, please visit us on Facebook or send an email to youth@mobilerugby,org.
As Battleship continues to find new ways to introduce the sport to younger participants, our Senior Men's team is preparing for a highly competitive 7-a-side season, with practicing commencing next week. Looking forward to our 2016-2017 competition cycle, Mobile Area Rugby Foundation is seeking a new head coach for the Battleship Rugby Men's team. Please review the vacancy announcement below and submit your resume (CV) to email@example.com for consideration.
Inaugural Battleship Youth Rugby Tournament
Over 30 boys and girls, ages 7 to 12, competed on November 7th in the first ever Battleship Youth Rugby Tournament at the U.S.S. Alabama Memorial Park. This year, the tournament was held alongside the 37th Annual Battleship Invitational Tournament as an intramural, round-robin format. The goal is for future events to attract teams from Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans and beyond, considering rugby is the fastest growing sport in the world, especially in the U.S. were rugby remains an emerging sport. All of the participants played amazing rugby, scoring a host of tries and having fun along the way.
Youth rugby is styled after Olympic rugby, with up to 7 players per side competing for possession and points over two 7-minutes halves per game. One major difference in youth and Olympic is the use of flags to simulate a tackle for the more junior competitors. The risks of physical contact, tackling especially, are at the forefront of USA Rugby’s movement to promote Rookie Rugby, a safe alternative for the underdeveloped musculoskeletal systems found in many competitors under the age of 13. Flag rugby teaches proper technique for running, catching and passing to avoid contact with opponents while building the skills and physique necessary to safely initiate and complete a tackle maneuver in later years.
Almost a quarter of the areas Physical Educators have experienced Rookie Rugby, also an education curriculum approved by the state of Alabama. If you are an educator or parent interested in learning more about Rookie Rugby, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The program is free and all materials are donated by Mobile Area Rugby Foundation, Inc.
A special thanks to everyone who donated time, money, expertise and support over the past six months. Your dedication and support to the youth of community are the most special characteristics of rugby. If you have ever played, or even watched, a rugby match, you will know every person on the field is selfless. Every pass caught, every meter gained, and every tackle made influences the outcome of the game. For the team to prevail, every player is required to exert maximum effort at all times in support of the person standing on either side of them. Congratulations to these young men for their accomplishment.
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Olympic-style rugby (seven-a-side) will debut in the Rio games next summer but Rugby Alabama and ASF are not waiting until 2016 to feature the newest Olympic sport. Rugby was introduced to the Alabama State Games in 2011, following rugby's readmission to the Summer Olympics. Since 2011, dozens of new teams have popped up all across Alabama. In 2014, over thirty teams competed in various divisions for the prized medals awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers. The divisions include U12, where flags are utilized to simulate tackle and does not include the typical set-piece play of scrums, lineouts or kicks. U12 teams are traditionally co-ed. U15 progresses to uncontested set-piece play to get our younger players accustomed to the full-on tackle and set-piece play found in the U19 divisions. U15 and above are traditionally not co-ed. There are also Collegiate and Senior Men's and Women's divisions represented.
While Mobile has been well-represented in the Alabama State Games at the Senior and Collegiate divisions, bringing home silver in the Senior division in the 2012, Mobile has been missing in the U19 division and below. 2015 is the year we introduce Mobile Area Youth Rugby to the Alabama State Games. We are registering two U12 and two U19 teams for the Alabama State Games June 13th at Westgate Park in Dothan, AL. The age determination date for ASF is June 13, 2015. ASF aims to double youth participation each year, and Mobile's efforts will be instrumental in the lasting success of the ASF.
Mobile Area Youth Rugby (U12 and U15) and South Alabama High School Rugby (U19) are currently practicing at Spring Hill College on Dorn Field Sundays 2pm to 330pm. If you are interested in learning more about Olympic-style rugby, come on out. There is no cost to Give Rugby a Try! Registration is open now for anyone interested in competing in the Alabama State Games. You can start by visiting the USA Rugby link below to register as a member of Mobile Area Youth Rugby or South Alabama High School Rugby, or you can stop by our practice as on-site registration is available.
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Upcoming Events (Updated)
Rugby has been a staple in the Mobile area for over forty years. Rugby in our area was mostly played by college athletes, military servicemembers and recent graduates up to the early 1990's. Today, rugby is one of the fastest growing youth sports in the U.S. Thanks in large part to the introduction of non-contact versions of the game, such as Rookie Rugby, kids have a safe, active way to learn the intricacies of rugby. Mobile Area Rugby Foundation (MARF) was formed in 2010 to pave the way for youth rugby in southwest Alabama.
Since 2010, MARF has trained over 60 physical educators in Mobile and Baldwin County public and private schools. Nearly 800 students have played rugby in their P.E. class with many more from area YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs attending introductory camps. It has been a successful four years, and MARF is poised to take the next steps to insure rugby remains the fastest growing youth sport for years to come. While we have spent a lot of time and resources building the physical education program, we are well-positioned to move into club-building. The starting point is building awareness and skills by hosting knowledge and skill-building sessions open to the public.
In conjunction with Spring Hill College, we will host a free “get-to-know” rugby day on Saturday, February 21 from 10 am to 3 pm at Dorn Field on Spring Hill’s campus. Spring Hill College Men and Women Rugby will be hosting a high-school invitational tournament that day; so, it is a great opportunity for youth and high-schoolers to experience rugby from the sidelines and also participate in an a one hour introductory clinic. We will progress to skills sessions held each Sunday at Dorn Field on Spring Hill’s campus from 2 to 4 pm beginning February 22. The schedule of events and registration information will be published by February 1. Our ultimate goal is to enter at least two high school 7's (Olympic-style rugby) teams and four Rookie Rugby (flag) teams into the Alabama State Games in June. Please make plans to attend the introducing rugby event on February 21st and check back often for more updates.
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High School: Must have not reached 19th birthday by September 1st with minimum age of 14. Team and player eligibility shall comply with USA Rugby's Membership Guidelines
Youth (non-contact): Co-ed teams for ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 13
A competitive pathway for youth rugby
The article below illustrates youth rugby development in the U.S. is both fast-moving and widespread. Help Southwest Alabama join the rest of the country in bringing the newest Olympic sport to the youth of our community.
NDP Championships and United World Sports Announce Partnership, Creation of Rugby Sevens Championship
For Immediate Release
August 21, 2014Denver, CO - NDP Championships, a division of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, and United World Sports (UWS) announced today a national partnership centered around the formation of The Sevens Championship as the first-ever youth and high school rugby sevens North American championship tournament. The Sevens Championship, which will be held annually in Florida from December 29-31, will be a USA Rugby sanctioned event featuring the top boys’ and girls’ pre-collegiate rugby teams in the nation.
“This is a monumental day for rugby, as The Sevens Championship will redefine the sport’s competitive landscape,” said Steve Govett, president of NDP. “We couldn’t have found a better partner for this event and concept than UWS.”
The inaugural event will welcome the sport’s top teams through an At-Large application process. A qualification format similar to what NDP currently uses for its lacrosse property, the DICK’S Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions presented by Pasco County, will be unveiled next year.
“The dedication of NDP to grow and develop the sport of the lacrosse in standards of play, participating numbers, and a business model workable for teams and tournaments caught our eye early on,” said UWS Vice President Dan Lyle. “With Kroenke Sports & Entertainment sharing the same goals when it comes to developing rugby and giving the sport a new platform, the partnership was a natural fit.”
The Olympic debut of the sport in 2016 has significantly increased its popularity and national media coverage. The Sevens Championship will offer the nation’s best youth and high school players the opportunity to compete on rugby’s grandest stage.
For more information on The Sevens Championship, including At-Large application information, visit TheSevensChampionship.com or call 303-575.1902
About NDP Championships
NDP Championships is a wholly owned and operated division of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE). Founded in 2003 by lacrosse legend Gary Gait and acquired by KSE two years later, NDP is an event management company that operates tournaments and other special events throughout the United States. Its current lacrosse footprint is the largest in the nation, featuring more than 100,000 players annually.
About United World Sports
United World Sports (UWS) is the owner and operator of a growing portfolio of dynamic sports event, media and apparel brands. Its flagship sports event property is the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament held annually in Las Vegas. This exciting 16-nation, three-day tournament has become the largest attended rugby event in North America with more than 70,000 fans coming to Las Vegas annually. Broadcast live on NBC Sports the tournament serves as the only U.S. stop on a nine-city world tour and reaches more than 387 million television households worldwide. Additional UWS event properties include the College Rugby Championship (CRC) and Varsity Cup National 15s Rugby Championship, both of which are broadcast on NBC, as well as the Las Vegas Invitational, America’s Rugby Seven’s Cup and Pro Soccer Challenge. Through its apparel division, UWS owns the exclusive North and South American license for Rhino Rugby, one of the world’s leading rugby apparel and equipment brands. UWS also owns and operates RugbyToday.com, the largest and most widely read media destination dedicated to American rugby.
Medran talks rugby and the Olympics
YMCA of South Alabama hosted a free Rookie Rugby clinic last month, bringing over 60 participants and counselors together to learn more about the newest Olympic sport. The attendees had an opportunity last month to learn Rookie Rugby from one of the best, Brandy Medran, Youth Development Coordinator for USA Rugby. Medran spent over two hours with the participants, on a scorching summer morning, teaching the basic principles of Rookie Rugby and demonstrating to the staff rugby's numerous benefits. The introduction was well-received by all, and the YMCA of South Alabama has now added Flag Rugby to their Fall programming. A huge thanks to Christina Jones of YSAL for helping the kids GIVE RUGBY A TRY!
YMCA of South Alabama Flag Rugby League
Registration: September 9th- October 25th
Season: November 11th - December 21, 2013
Cost: $50 members/$80 non members
You can register at the Hearin Chandler YMCA branch on Downtowner Blvd. Mon-Friday 8:30 am to 7:00 pm. We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to get involved with our new program. You don't have to be a rugby expert, we will offer training to all who wants to learn. For more information on youth rugby, please visit www.mobilerugby.org.
This Blog is written by Robert Corley, Executive Director of Mobile Area Rugby Foundation.
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Mobile area rugby
Photo used under Creative Commons from kelsey e.