The Play Rugby USA Senior Academy Girls enjoyed a very successful summer, with two sides taking 1st and 3rd place honors in the inaugural Empire GU HS Summer 7s Series. They were coached by Billy Nicholas, Mike Rosario, and Ryszard Chadwick (the former two learned rugby through coaching in the PSAL League; the latter is a graduate of the master's program in coaching science and former academy coach at Hartpury College in England). An Academy girls team won 3 of the 5 summer tournaments, often compiling an undefeated tournament record, while the second team took 3rd place in 3 straight tournaments to close the season. The team that won the Series finished a combined 23-2 on the year across all 5 tournaments! What makes these accomplishments especially impressive, and for us the most rewarding, is that most of these girls have only played rugby for the last two years. They have shown tremendous Commitment and Go Forward to show the dedication and improvements they have over this time period.
This team was comprised of coach-nominated players from schools in our PSAL program and from our West Side High School SLA Program. They showed tremendous Camaraderie in Switching On and moving beyond rivalries from the recently completed PSAL season to jell as a team. "This summer's Play Rugby USA Senior Academy was an amazing experience for me as a coach because of the diversity of the girls team," Coach Mike Rosario said. "The girls came together the first day of practice from so many different schools, but they knew they had to come together as a team in order to play together on that field. There was definitely a variety of personalities on the team, but they worked hard in order to get better at every practice."
In addition to the rugby programming, they have also participated in a leadership and college prep program led by Academy Director Brian Wolf. This program has led to a number of the players committing to playing rugby in college, including two full scholarship recipients to AIC. "We view player development as encompassing both rugby skills and life skills. Each week this summer, coaches and players analyzed game footage, learned about sports nutrition, researched college opportunities, and discussed elements of leadership including "Setting Expectations", "Motivation", and "Service". The skills and knowledge our players gain in the Academy will be taken back to their high schools and shared with teammates and friends, and will be essential to their future success whether as collegiate rugby players or members of their community."
AIG came out to the NYC Rugby Cup on June 8th with Jonathan Wicklow Barberie from Rugby WrapUp. Check out a video of their visit and some event highlights below!