USA Rugby Trust: When and where did you play rugby?
Naima Reddick:I started playing rugby in 1999 at Piedmont HS in Piedmont, CA. We named ourselves the Sirens as this was the first year the high school had a girls team. From there I went to Chico State and played for the college team. During my 5-year tenure with the team, I played U23 Grizzlies. In chronological order the Women’s clubs I’ve played for are: Berkeley All Blues, NorCal Triple Threat, Northern United (Porirua, NZ) I also played on the Wellington Pride provincial side], back to NorCal, then SFGG, and finally the Seattle Saracens. I played Senior Grizzlies throughout that time except when I blew out my knee and when I was out of the country.
USART: When did you play/participate with the Eagles?
NR: I played in the first year of the U19 Eagles in 2003 and I played 2 years of U23s in 2006 and 2007. I earned my first senior cap in January 2010 in the Atlantic Cup against Canada in Florida. I went to the 2010 World Cup; after which I took a 2-year break that included a year of living in NZ. I came back to the pool in 2013 and played through until World Cup 2014. After that I took some time off to get my life together and rest some injuries. I hope to re-enter the pool this coming January.
USART: What is your favorite rugby memory?
NR: My favorite rugby memory of ALL TIME is playing with Chico State and beating Stanford in the 2004 Northern California League playoff. We were 4 points down with about a minute left on the clock and Kelly Neilson (our 10) puts a wiper through to the corner of the try zone. Carrie White, playing on the wing (another Eagle and World Cup veteran of 2014) sprints through, dives on the ball in the face of a defender and scores. This was before the scoreboard changed and we all l thought we were still a point down and needed the kick to win. Carrie lined it up and sailed it right between the posts. Best rugby moment, hands down.
USART: Where are you now?
NR: I am currently in Seattle playing for the Saracens and working at Atavus. I’ve been here a year now and it’s been pretty great. I start at the UW Professional and Continuing Education School in September to get a Certificate in Project Management. Overall, moving here was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my life and my rugby.
USART: What do you believe is the most important factor in growing the sport of rugby within the US?
NR: The most important factor in growing the game is increasing our youth participation. The more kids we can get involved and the more families, the more successful rugby is going to be in the US across the board. Not just talent wise, but financially and structurally. Seeing how much things have changed from when I started playing in 1999 to now, makes me excited to see what the next 18 years brings.