Boys high school rugby is growing stronger every season! We welcome new clubs and players every season.
Every year is exciting in the Girls high school division. We are adding new teams and many new players every year. Girls high school rugby is developing in Illinois!
Rugby Illinois supports coaches in their development of Illinois youth rugby. Parents also play a crucial role through their commitment and support.
Girls rugby continues to grow in Illinois, and starting with the spring of 2016, junior high aged (U14) girls will no longer be limited to playing in co-ed matches alongside boys. Each week at the U16/U14/U12 festivals there will be a U14 Girls "open" match played with any girls that wish to play in a "girls only" match. The goal is to form a competitive division of girls U14 teams.
Until now, girls below the high school level that have wanted to play rugby have participated on co-ed teams primarily composed of boys. Many have enjoyed that challenge, but many others have decided to wait until high school to play rugby, if at all. Having the opportunity to play in a girls-only rugby match is expected to appeal to both players and parents that might not be comfortable with a co-ed match, especially at the junior high level.
While some larger clubs may be able to recruit an entire team, it is expected that in the first year, the success of this endeavor will depend on each club recruiting a few girls that might not have tried rugby otherwise, and giving them a chance. That's the idea behind having an "open" division consisting of matches of mixed teams made up of girls from several clubs coming together to play each week.
All the clubs with middle school programs and with girls high school programs will be working to promote this new opportunity, but it will be the grassroots effort of girls that already play in the U14 division recruiting more of their friends that will determine the success of this new opportunity. Perhaps girls that previously declined an invitation to play co-ed rugby or that have played before but dropped out will take another look, and perhaps also many new girls that may be interested in trying a new sport will be more inclined to try rugby.