GUEST POST: Progress Report: Women’s Rugby in the USA

Photo Credit: Alan Hamilton
Photo Credit: Alan Hamilton

Women’s rugby originated in the United States during the 70’s with three collegiate teams at Colorado State University at Fort Collins, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Illinois at Champaign. It wasn’t until 1987, when the US Women fielded a team against the Canadian Rugby National Team, that the USA Women’s National Team was officially recognized. Known as the Women’s Eagles from then onward, the National Team won the very first Women’s Rugby World Cup in 1991, and continued to find success on the international stage through the 90’s and into the new millennium.

The USA Women’s National Team fields not only the Women Eagles, but U19, U23, 7’s, and USA A’s teams. Currently, women’s rugby at the collegiate level is identified by the NCAA as an “Emerging Sport.” For rugby to attain full varsity status within the NCAA, they must establish 28 varsity programs around the country in the next 10 years. Currently, there are 12 teams, with a few other schools working to attain varsity status in the next few years, by dedicating the necessary resources and medical staff to their club teams. The current collegiate varsity programs include:

  • Eastern Illinois University
  • West Chester University
  • Bowdoin College
  • Norwich University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Lindenwood University
  • Harvard University
  • Davenport University
  • Army
  • Central Washington University
  • Life University
  • Brown University

However, despite only having 12 varsity teams, there are over 350 women’s collegiate rugby club teams around the country, highlighting its growth in popularity and practice. Growth in women’s rugby on collegiate and varsity levels has increased since the announcement by the International Olympic Committee that rugby, both for women and men would return to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Women’s Eagles is the highest level rugby team in the USA. Women generally are asked to join the National Team after competing for Age-Grade or All-American Teams, or as a club player on a union representative team at a National Championship.

You can visit these sites to follow the current progress of women’s rugby in the USA. The best sources of information are the Official Site of USA Rugby, the Women’s Eagles 365 site, as well as USA Rugby’s twitter and instagram accounts that provide day to day updates and pictures of the teams’ travels and successes.
You can also watch a short documentary on the Women’s Eagles to learn more about the team and their dedication to the sport of rugby.

You will be surprised to know that women (and men) who are interested and following the Rugby sport are also into buying apparels to support their team. If you are looking for the best place to shop online, you can visit the Irish rugby store to check out their current stocks.

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