In 2016, Play Rugby USA announced its designation by the United States Olympic Committee as America’s first Community Olympic Development Program (CODP) for Rugby, giving the organization an opportunity to offer a formal pathway to support exceptional athletes in achieving their potential, no matter their background!
The purpose of the CODP is to immerse players in an environment with high quality coaching and one-on-one development, giving them the opportunity to gain invaluable experience that aligns with the National player pathway.
The CODP has already seen success in both its Boys and Girls teams, which debuted at the North American Invitational 7s Tournament this past July. Now the CODP has its eye on the Las Vegas Invitational (LVI) March 2-4, 2017. Considered the largest rugby tournament in North America, the LVI provides an incredible opportunity for our athletes to compete at the highest level. You can help support their journey by making a donation to the Play Rugby Fund here.
We’ll be highlighting some of the CODP’s star athletes leading up to the LVI – so be sure to keep an eye out!
Elijah is 16 years old and has been a member of the Play Rugby USA family for two years. He has big dreams, which include playing rugby in college and hopefully making it all the way to the Olympics. He says that being part of the CODP has made a tremendous impact on him.
“Playing with some of the best high school students in the country forces me to not only see them as teammates but as advisers. The CODP has superior expectations, so it gives me the drive needed in order to keep moving forward in my rugby career.”
“The CODP empowers me to evaluate myself. Being a person that gives back, takes responsibility and listen to influential information is a big part of who I am. I think it is crucial to self evaluate, evaluating myself gives me the abilities to view the habits needed to become a better person, it is equally important to be the best I can be on and off the rugby pitch. Viewing myself as a rugby player gives me that skill to use in order to proceed in life.”
When asked what his favorite quote is, Elijah responded powerfully with, “NEVER GIVE UP!”
Nate has been a member of the Play Rugby USA family for five years and was recently named the CODP Boys’ team captain. Nate says that the CODP has made him a better rugby player, and has prepared him to play alongside top level talent. But some of the greatest lessons he’s learned have been in leadership, which will take him far beyond the rugby pitch.
“CODP has instilled a sense of responsibility in me that is paramount to the success of my individual play,” he says.
“As a team captain, I have learned that I must take the responsibility of making sure my teammates are committed to finishing the game with nothing left to give. Making sure that an athlete reaches their full potential in a drill, practice, touch, and games is not just the responsibility of the player themselves- but also of their teammates who will encourage them.”
Even in this high performance environment, our athletes are being immersed in a culture that will undoubtedly propel them towards a successful future.
Susan has been a member of the Play Rugby USA family since she was just 10 years old! Her favorite things about rugby (other than playing it!) are the opportunities she has to meet new people and the bonds she has with her teammates.
The CODP has really elevated Susan’s level of play. She says she is now able to visualize plays better and she feels empowered to communicate more. Susan’s not sure where she wants to go to college yet, but she is sure that she wants to go to a great school with a Division I rugby program.
What else does Susan see in her future? The Olympics. Her dream is to be on the rugby pitch in Tokyo, 2020.
Her favorite quote? Quite fittingly, it comes from one of the most successful female athletes of our time: “I always believe I can beat the best, achieve the best. I always see myself on top.”- Serena Williams