On Saturday April 26th over 50 women and girls gathered on Randall’s Island for the first Women in Rugby Day celebration! We hosted the event in partnership with the Monmouth Renegades and Village Lions RFC, two local senior womens clubs, to highlight the womens rugby community in NYC. Participants ranged from elementary and middle school aged to adult players, showcasing the player pathway that now exists for female rugby players. The day’s events focused on non-contact flag rugby and other topics relevant to them.
A nutrition session gave participants a chance to test each other’s knowledge of fruits and veggies and learn what they can eat before and after activities to optimize their athletic performance. An injury prevention and stretching clinic, facilitated by JFK Johnson Rehab Institute, provided participants with more information about knee injuries common among young women in sports, and walked them through specific stretches and exercises that can increase stability and strength.
During games and a team obstacle course older participants were able to share their love and knowledge of rugby to help younger girls improve their own. The event culminated in an all vs. all flag rugby scrimmage where, surprisingly, the younger girls taught the older women a thing or two! One volunteer was impressed by “the level of knowledge and enthusiasm from the girls once we started playing” and another volunteer said the best experience from the day was “learning about [the younger girls][/the] and why they play rugby.”
The youth participants from Women in Rugby Day completed surveys after the day’s events and a striking 100% of participants reported that playing rugby makes them feel strong and healthy, while 94% feel positive about themselves and 84% feel confident when they play. Despite these encouraging figures only 50% of participants felt optimistic about their future in rugby and many reported that not knowing where to play and a lack of support were major barriers to their participation in the past. These figures suggest that rugby can play an important role in empowering young girls but that increased opportunities for them to participate are still needed. Play Rugby USA has been vital in establishing more of these opportunities in NYC and is committed to this continued work. We look forward to the next Women in Rugby Day!
You can view photos from the event below. For information on how to get more involved in and support programs in New York like this, visit our Get Involved page or click the Donate Now link at the top of the page.