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Women for Rugby Builds Momentum

  • 07 Mar 2019
  • 147 Views

Tagami, Strasko and Ferris flank the USA Falcons at the LVI / Photo: Women for Rugby Facebook

Women for Rugby stepped out in 2018 and quickly threw its support behind the USA Women 7s team as it raised funds for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco. Since then, the entity has registered as a 501c3 charitable organization, established its executive board, and broadened its financial support of girls’ and women’s rugby in the U.S.

Morgan Roberts is president of the Women for Rugby volunteer board and works with vice president Nicole Strasko, secretary Adriaan Ferris, treasurer Jennifer Sever, member/national team ambassador Alev Kelter, social media chair Kelsi Stockert, and founding sponsor/member Phil Tagami.

“This organization is not a gimmick,” Roberts asserted. “We are tired of hearing stories of inequitable sponsorship, uneven funding and unbalanced allocation of funds, fields, etc. With that said, our goal is to even the playing field by building up women and girls in the sport – players, coaches, referees. We want to stay positive, encourage and build, rather than swirling into a negative, complaint-like pattern and dialogue about these issues.”

To date, Women for Rugby has raised close to $15,000 for the USA Women’s 7s program, allotting for GPS units, nutrition, and extended travel windows so players could train and adjust to the time change for a tournament. The organization traveled to Barbados 7s and presented a $400 sportsmanship award to Sophie Pyrz, who perpetuated the positive and professional team culture that Women for Rugby supports in the sport generally. It also purchased and provided rainbow laces to women’s clubs in support of Gareth Thomas and an all-inclusive rugby community.​

Sophie Pyrz with Morgan Roberts / Photo: Women for Rugby Facebook

Most recently, Women for Rugby added value to the Women’s Elite division at the Las Vegas Invitational. The organization hired personnel to film every single game, which is being made available to all of the coaching staffs. (Check out some LVI photos from Max Haynes) Women for Rugby-branded sling bags were handed out to all of the participating teams. And Tagami matched the prize money – $1,000 – that the LVI offered to the Women’s Elite 7s champions.

“We also had trophies made which were given out, as none were offered by the tournament,” Roberts added. “Frankly, we would have loved to have been able to match the prize purse offered to the men’s side of the tournament – $20,000 – but we just are not able to do that. Yet.”

Another objective is getting more women coaching the game, and not just women’s teams. Roberts herself has mentored with Ferris and CCIG, and continued this relationship through Women for Rugby.

Stockert, Women for Rugby’s social media chair, at the LVI with CCIG Life West / Photo: Jackie Finlan

“At this stage we are seeking members and will be offering membership for a $1 donation,” Roberts explained next steps. “It’s less about the sum we get and more about building a crowd. If we have numbers, sponsors and even rugby organizations will begin to realize the value and importance of the women’s game. Basically, this cause takes a village, so to speak.”

An advisory board that will include national players, elite coaches, youth players and referees is also in formation, so stay tuned for more big things from Women for Rugby.

For more information, visit Women for Rugby’s website (www.womenforrugby.com), Facebook page, or Instagram account.

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