Rugby in the USA: Everything you need to know.
The Origin and History of the Game on American Soil
Believe it or not, rugby has a legacy in the USA which dates back to the nineteenth century, albeit a rather tumultuous one. Stephen Chase brought the game to the US in the 1860s, following his studies in England. The development of 'usa rugby' initially faced several obstacles due to the growing popularity of American football. For a long while, rugby remained in the shadow of its American cousin.
Fast forward to the 20th century, after several decades of obscurity, rugby started catching on again. Its resurrection can be cited around the 60's, under the influence of returning servicemen and immigrants from rugby playing nations. This strategically coincided with the golden era of counterculture in the USA, creating an idyllic blend of a fresh sporting landscape. Hence, the official usa rugby governing body was established in 1975, marking the beginning of a new era for the sport. Although the growth of rugby in the US has not been plain sailing, the sport has managed to slowly but surely carve out a niche for itself in the saturated American sports market.
Understanding the Basics of the Game
Rugby is a pretty different ball game, literally! It's no secret that it's a game played by two teams, each with 15 players on a rectangular field, and of course, the much-talked-about 'egg-shaped' ball. Now, the goal is to score more points than the other team - those who have a knack for racking up the numbers are definitely cherished. You can score through tries, conversions, penalty kicks, and drop goals. But remember, all of this needs to occur within the two 40-minute halves.
Before you scratch your head, let me decipher some of those terms. A 'try' is when the rugby ball is grounded over the opponent's goal line in the 'in-goal' area. Buoyant cheers follow as you score five points! Conversions, penalty kicks, and drop goals are essentially different types of kicks granting you varying numbers of points. Ecology and rugby don't seem too apart after all, it's all about adapting to the environment and seeing opportunities amidst all the chaos!
The Popularity Surge of Rugby Stateside
Over the past few decades, rugby has been gaining traction stateside and has seen a significant surge in popularity. It appears to have ripped up the rule book on traditional American sports preferences. Quite the underdog story, really! The sport's fast-paced nature and raw physicality have undoubtedly resonated with a growing audience, who are bored with the more mainstream American sports or are on the lookout for the thrill of something new.
United States' performance at international rugby events has further stimulated interest in the sport. It's almost like the performances were a spark, lighting up the kindling of newfound fandom. Talk about compelling! With the broadcast of games and tournaments on sports networks, rugby is slowly but surely securing its spot in American sports landscapes. This is generating a novel curiosity among sports fans and aspiring athletes alike. The surge is real, my friends.
Where to Find Your Local Rugby Clubs
There you are, all psyched up and ready to try the exciting game of rugby, but where exactly do you go to find a team? Sit tight, pals, because we've got you covered! First off, the USA Rugby website has a fantastic Club Locator tool. You just plug in your city or zip code, then watch the magic happen as it populates your area with rugby clubs. This tool even categorizes clubs into youth, college, and senior clubs, so you'll have an easier time finding a team that suits your age group and skill level.
Meanwhile, don't forget to check your local community centers, sports complexes, and gyms. They might host rugby leagues or know where you can find one. Similarly, local universities and colleges often have rugby teams or clubs, and these institutions are always eager to introduce new people to the sport. Some host rugby events that are open to the public, making them a good place to get introduced to local rugby enthusiasts and experts. Trust us, the rugby community is pretty darn welcoming!
Getting Started: How to Join a Rugby Team
So, you've made up your mind and decided to join a rugby team. That's fantastic! First off, find out if there is a local rugby club in your area. The United States of America Rugby Association (USARA), provides a directory of clubs on its website which could be a great resource. Additionally, you can also visit local parks or sports facilities around your home. Who knows, you might stumble upon a group of enthusiastic rugby players from your neighborhood!
Got your eye on a specific team already? Great job! The next step is to contact that rugby club and express your interest. Typically, you can contact the club via their website or social media presence. Once you've done this, you'll likely be invited to a meeting or a tryout session. Remember, most rugby teams welcome players with varying skill levels. So, don't sweat it if you're new to the sport. They’ll help you learn the ropes and who knows, maybe you’ll end up being the next big thing in American Rugby!
Rugby Tournaments and Competitions in the U.S.
The U.S. has a substantial rugby scene, and tournaments are competitive and exciting. High on the list of notable competitions is the Collegiate Rugby Championship, where young athletes from the nation’s top vestiges have the chance to compete. This event has become a tentpole of the American rugby calendar, providing some truly memorable matches and showcasing emerging talent.
Additionally, the 'USA Sevens' is a premier tournament that attracts top players from around the globe. Held in Las Vegas, this competition has become a can't-miss fixture for rugby enthusiasts. This fast-rising rugby carnival perfectly encapsulates the fun, energy, and camaraderie that's always present in the great game of rugby. With more tournaments like these sprouting up around the country, the future of Rugby in America looks brighter than ever.
The Role of Universities in American Rugby
American universities have had a profound influence on the development of rugby in the United States over the years. They have steadily organically nurtured the sport, fostering both a competitive spirit and a passion for the game among the younger population. Many high-ranking universities have established dedicated rugby programs on their campuses, creating an ideal platform for aspiring players to learn, practice, and compete at a high level.
These university-based rugby programs have not only brought growth to the sport on a national scale, but also contributed to its rising international recognition. Athletes emerging from these universities often have opportunities to join professional leagues both in the United States and abroad, further enhancing the visibility and potential for rugby. Even for those who do not go on to professional careers, university rugby programs offer a great avenue for personal development, teambuilding, and the pure enjoyment of the sport.
Notable American Rugby Players to Watch
When thinking of continental rugby phenoms, a couple of American players that inevitably spring to mind include Carlin Isles and Todd Clever. Isles, often dubbed as the 'fastest man in Rugby,' proved his reputation by running 100 meters in less than 11 seconds. With his exceptional speed and deft agility, he transformed himself from a track star to a reliable winger in the American rugby team.
Equally noteworthy, Todd Clever is another superstar shout-out from the USA. With his relentless drive and robust performance on the pitch, Clever stands tall as the most capped player in U.S. rugby history. The former national team captain has proudly represented his country in four Rugby World Cup tournaments, where his hard-hitting tackling and leadership abilities have captivated audiences worldwide. A force to be reckoned with, Clever has truly etched his name in the annals of American rugby.
Rugby Training and Skills Development
Getting better at rugby isn’t just about hitting the field and getting your hands dirty. It largely revolves around a high level of expertise, precision and fitness, and this doesn't happen overnight. It's the culmination of hours spent training hard and perfecting skills that can make a difference in those pivotal moments during a match. A critical aspect of rugby training is strength training. Immersing in activities that build muscle mass, such as weightlifting, can significantly improve performance.
There's no questioning that mastering rugby's diverse skills is no easy feat. Players must develop their passing and catching skills under pressure, master the art of tackling safely and effectively, and learn to strategize in a dynamic team setting. Agility drills work wonders in sharpening quick movements on the field, while endurance training ensures that players can bring their A-game, even in the face of relentless physical demands. Undeniably, a well-rounded, comprehensive training regimen is integral to the success of any aspiring rugby player.
Exploring the Future of Rugby in America
Despite its slow-paced growth, the next few years seem very promising for the future of rugby in the U.S. Major League Rugby, inaugurated in 2018, is a significant step towards bringing this international sport into the limelight of American audiences, showing the potential for rugby to be more than just a niche sport for the passionate few. The expanding robust league is boosting the popularity of the sport, paving the way for more professional opportunities for U.S. rugby athletes.
Furthermore, the increasing influence of rugby in universities and schools, including scholarship opportunities, are helping attract and nurture talent from a young age. As rugby increasingly becomes part of the American sporting landscape sooner rather than later, it's only a matter of time before we see the likes of a Superbowl for rugby. The rising popularity and the groundwork being laid today give us a hint towards a flourishing future of rugby in America.
Where did rugby originate in America?
Rugby first started gaining popularity in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
What are the basics of the rugby game I should know before I start playing?
The basic rules of rugby include two teams of 15 players each, attempting to score points by touching the ball down in the other team's goal or by kicking it through their goal posts.
Has the popularity of rugby increased in the United States lately?
Yes, rugby has seen a significant surge in popularity in recent years. More people are attending games, playing the sport, and watching it on TV than ever before.
Where can I find local rugby clubs?
There are many online resources that can help you find a local rugby club. Websites like USA Rugby and local city sports pages typically provide information about clubs in your area.
How can I join a rugby team?
Joining a rugby team usually involves finding a local club, attending their training sessions, and demonstrating your skill and commitment.
Are there any notable rugby tournaments and competitions in the U.S.?
Yes, there are several important rugby tournaments in the U.S., including the Collegiate Rugby Championship, the USA Sevens, and the Major League Rugby championship.
Do universities play a significant role in American rugby?
Yes, many universities have thriving rugby clubs and competitions, and they often serve as important training grounds for future professional players.
Who are some American rugby players to watch out for?
There are many talented American rugby players, including Perry Baker, Madison Hughes, and Carlin Isles.
How can I improve my rugby skills and training?
Improvement can be achieved through consistent training and practice, increasing your understanding of the game, and receiving good coaching.
What does the future hold for rugby in America?
The future of rugby in America looks promising. With the sport's growing popularity and increased visibility, it's likely that we'll see more players, clubs, and professional opportunities in the years to come.