In 1972, women’s rugby was still in its early stages, to say the least. Only three collegiate teams were in existence during this time at Colorado State University, the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. By the mid-1970s, teams were beginning to materialize across the nation, but there was only one division for women’s rugby and the sport was widely driven by the athletes themselves.
Fast-forward to 2017 and you’ll find a much brighter outlook for the women’s game. Through the legacy of those trailblazing athletes, a groundwork was built to grow the game and make rugby one of the fastest-growing team sports in the United States. During the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Vogue even posed the question, “Will Women’s Rugby Be the Next Women’s Soccer in the U.S.?” – a far cry from the handful of female ruggers paving the way in the early 1970s.
Still, the women’s game needs the support of the rugby community to continue to flourish. To that end, the U.S. Women’s Rugby Foundation was established, committed to fostering and sustaining the growth of girls’ and women’s rugby. Supporting women’s rugby at all levels – from youth to the national team and the Women’s Rugby Coaching Association – the Foundation serves as a starting block for many ruggers across the country. Offering needs-based grants to aid individuals and team alike, the U.S. Women’s Rugby Foundation is a resource to assure girls and women have a voice, agency and the opportunities to participate in rugby.
As advocates for the game, the U.S. Women’s Rugby Foundation recently donated $2,000 to the Women’s National Team to defray the cost of their training, travel, and room and board for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland, helping the Eagles surpass their $150,000 fundraising goal. “We can’t thank the U.S. Women’s Rugby Foundation enough for their generous donation and continued support of women’s rugby across the nation,” says USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer Dan Payne. “Their championing of the women’s game plays an integral role in developing the sport.”
To learn more about the U.S. Women’s Rugby Foundation, visit their new website and follow them on Facebook. Please note that their website is still under partial construction. Thank you to all of our donors who helped the Eagles surpass their $150,000 fundraising goal for the Women’s Rugby World Cup!