Matthew Ford got his rugby start young, growing up to ex-pat parents in New Jersey. His first time on the pitch was at Colgate, and he never looked back. Now, Matt gives back to the sport he loves by serving as President of the Young Professionals Advisory Board (YPAB). USA Rugby Trust spoke with Matt to learn more about his connection with YPAB and the goals he has for the board during his tenure.
USA Rugby Trust: First, please share some background information about YPAB.
Matt Ford: USA Rugby Trust asks people to donate their time, treasure and talent. Though I was committed to developing and growing rugby in the United States, I realized that, as a young professional, there wasn’t a way that I could donate enough of my treasure to make the impact I wanted. However, there are a lot of folks my age who can give their talent. YPAB allows individuals like me to give back in a meaningful way on a national and local level.
USART: How was YPAB formed?
MF: YPAB was formed in the summer of 2014 when we proposed the idea of a junior board to USA Rugby Trust. After the Trust Board of Directors voted ‘yes’ on the idea, we formed our initial executive committee to test the concept. In early 2016, the executive committee and the Trust felt we had reached a point where the concept had been proven and began planning our extension. By July of this year, we were able to begin the process of recruiting new board members, and now we look forward to expanding into more cities across the United States.
USART: What are YPAB’s main goals?
MF: YPAB is designed to provide financial and advisory support to USA Rugby Trust and grow awareness of the Trust brand and its philanthropic mission, vision and goals among rugby supporters of all ages. We’re an organization that gives young professionals between the ages of 22 and 39 an opportunity to engage with and give back to the sport. We accomplish this by facilitating communication between our board and the USA Rugby Trust Board and by hosting fundraising and awareness events in cities across the country.
USART: What has been your favorite YPAB event?
MF: It was an Eagles meet-and-greet event hosted by fellow YPAB member Bradley Yandle in Austin. I flew down to watch the Eagles play Canada in America’s Rugby Championship and to help with the event, which was held at a local restaurant the night before the match. We had a raffle with some great prizes like signed jerseys and event tickets for the next day, and a band played afterward. Some national team players stopped by along with Men’s Eagles Head Coach John Mitchell. It was a wonderful experience to be able to talk rugby with like-minded folks in the community.
USART: YPAB is currently recruiting new board members. What qualities are you looking for in a candidate?
MF: The most important quality is drive – drive to make rugby in America stronger, better funded and more organized.
USART: In your own words, why should someone apply to join YPAB?
MF: Someone should apply because they are looking to take their rugby involvement up to the national level, and they should have a goal to promote rugby in their own community. Most importantly, a candidate should apply if they have a strong desire to give back to the game of rugby.
USART: Anything else you’d like to add?
MF: I would encourage anyone who is considering applying to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m more than happy to have a conversation with anyone who is interested to see if they would be a good fit for the board.
Click here to apply to join the Young Professionals Advisory Board. For more information, visit the Show Your Support page, then select the Young Professionals Advisory Board tab from the menu on the left.