Join Play Rugby USA supporters, players, and coaches as we celebrate American Rugby and honor Mike Tolkin, longtime defensive coordinator for the US National Team and Head Coach from 2012-2015, for his lifetime contribution to American Rugby, and his support of the transformational youth programming pioneered by Play Rugby USA.
Taking place on Tuesday May 17th at Current (Pier 59), the evening will feature an all-star team of special guests, live music, and award-winning cuisine from Abigail Kirsch. VIP guests will enjoy an exclusive reception with our honoree and a panel of current and former US Eagles players and coaches who will discuss the history, growth and exciting future of American Rugby.
Chasing the Olympic Dream
This is a special year for celebrating American Rugby, with the sport’s triumphant return to the Olympic Games this summer and the USA Eagles announcing themselves as a major players in the quest for the podium. And closer to home, to further ignite excitement for the American rugby’s Olympic future, Play Rugby USA, in partnership with the Northeast Academy, has been selected by the United States Olympic Committee as the nation’s 16th Community Olympic Development Program (CODP) and the first in the country for rugby.
Formally launched in January 2016, the CODP combines resources from Play Rugby USA – an established grassroots rugby development program – and the Northeast Academy – a USA Rugby approved elite development program – to formalize and consolidate a pathway for talented young players to USA Rugby national teams.
Honoring Mike Tolkin
We are pleased to honor a man who has dedicated decades of his life to growing and strengthening the game of rugby. Mike Tolkin was born and raised in downtown Manhattan, attended Xavier High School, St John’s University and Fordham University Graduate School. He started playing rugby informally at 11 years old and continued on, playing with Xavier from 1982-1985 and The New York Athletic Club from 1988-2001.Coach Tolkin began his rugby-coaching career at Xavier High School in New York, where he was named head coach in 1987 and remained in that position through 2012.
In February 2012, the Board of USA Rugby named Coach Tolkin Head Coach of the Men’s National Team. Among some of the achievements over his four years has been winning consecutive test-series for the first time in history in November of 2012 and 2013, notching historic road wins against Romania and Georgia, defeating cross-border rivals Canada in 3 consecutive matches for the first time, establishing a domestic-based touring XV, and getting the Eagles to within a quarter point of 14th place Italy in WR Rankings. Tolkin’s Eagles defeated Uruguay to qualify for the 2015 RWC in the UK.
Mike has also been a longtime supporter of Play Rugby USA, lending his time and talents to the organization since it’s founding over a decade ago. Since it was founded, Play Rugby USA has brought youth development and sports education programs to boys and girls of all ages and abilities in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The majority of children in our program come from under-served communities where they face many barriers to achieving long-term educational and social success. Play Rugby provides these deserving kids with opportunities to Go Forward and develop meaningful life skills by being a part of a team and positive community, where compassionate and dedicated mentors nurture each child’s development.
Other Special Guests
VIP Guests will enjoy an exclusive cocktail hour prior to the main program with Honoree Mike Tolkin as well as current and former US Eagles players and coaches for a panel discussion of the history, growth and exciting future of American Rugby;
Join us on Tuesday May 17th!
We invite you to join us on Tuesday May 17th for our Spring Gala where we will celebrate American Rugby and honor Mike Tolkin for his lifetime contribution to Rugby and support of Play Rugby USA. With an exciting array of online, silent & live auction packages, an open bar and many more fun surprises, please join us along New York City’s Hudson River at an exciting new event space, Current at Chelsea Piers.
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