Jenn Salomon during New York’s semifinal against San Diego / Photo: Jackie Finlan
It’s a pretty surreal environment. The Women’s Premier League National Championship brings together 10 teams filled with players and staff who are making rugby-first choices – whether professionally, personally, definitely financially. There’s a respect-laden kinship in the league, and it’s tangible, and it was all over Life University last weekend.
It’s impressive how many of the players are also coaches, referees, administrators – mentoring the next generation while they’re still active. New York co-captain Jenn Salomon is just one WPL-er who fits into that category and assists Sacred Heart University head coach Michelle Reed in Connecticut. Salomon is a product of Quinnipiac University, the three-time NIRA national champion, and stayed in the varsity set-up after graduation, joining the Pioneers in its inaugural NCAA season.
New York’s Alycia Washington and San Diego’s Kate Zackary are both active coaches. / Photo: Jackie Finlan
“We’re their role models,” Salomon explained why it’s important that high school and college players see their coaches in the WPL. “They see us training, going to practice, leading them, influencing them, showing them everything that we learn here and that we bring to practice.”
Salomon indicated that she didn’t wish the WPL season away – it was a tough one for New York, having to part ways with former head coach Andrew Britt midway through the season – but is looking forward to normal to some easier schedules now that NIRA rugby is the sole focus.
Salomon also acknowledged the value of simply introducing the WPL into younger players’
purview. The senior club landscape isn’t immediately discernible to the recent college grad, but the WPL is an obvious home for the high-performing athlete, especially one looking toward national opportunities.
Salomon was a truly good sport to stop and chat after New York’s 3rd-place win over Twin Cities. The outside center was spent, limping up the gently inclining slope to the locker rooms, and focusing well enough to put some important thoughts together. In the end, it was the thought of the Sacred Heart team that elicited a heartfelt smile.