Sign up by March 9 for Youth Rugby at Glen Ellyn Park District
Rugby is a sport, in some ways similar to football, that offers players a terrific way to build and utilize strength, speed, and agility. There are no size requirements; smaller athletes with ballhandling, kicking, and running skills can excel at rugby.
Rugby has been played for hundreds of years, in various forms. Modern play requires each team to have 15 players, with the goal of scoring as many points as possible.
"Rugby and football are complimentary sports, but game play for both is unique," said Clint Babicz, Assistant Superintendent of Athletics for the Glen Ellyn Park District. "The biggest difference is that in rugby, players can't pass the ball forward. To advance the ball, players carry the ball forward and may pass it backward to a teammate to continue with the attack. Another difference is that in rugby, when a ball carrier is tackled, play doesn't stop; instead, the ball carrier must release the ball, the tackler must release the ball carrier, and both need to get out of the way for play to continue."
Safety is paramount during instruction, practice, and game play. Measures are constantly being taken by World Rugby, the world governing body for the sport, and implemented by local clubs and coaches to continue to improve the safety of the game.
"Players are taught proper tackling technique, including rules governing how a tackle may be made," added Babicz. "Failure to do so results in penalties against the player committing the infraction. Players are continually reminded that the head is never a target, nor is it to be used as a means in which to execute a tackle."
Rugby is an exciting and fast-paced sport. All players are involved, as each is an important part of the team.
"Without teamwork, there's little chance for success," said Babicz. "Over the years, the Glen Ellyn Youth Rugby program has been very successful. In 2016, the U-12 and high school varsity teams were Rugby Illinois State Champions, while the U-14 team was a State Finalist. In 2017, the U-12 and U-14 teams were State Champions, and the high school varsity team was Conference Champion. Much of the credit goes to the many volunteers who give their time to help coach and administer the program."
The Glen Ellyn Park District is proud to offer area youth (ages 8-18) the opportunity to discover this intriguing sport. Beginners are welcome; emphasis is placed on both individual and team skill development, along with teamwork, conditioning, sportsmanship, and rugby etiquette. Practices begin March 5 at Newton Park and the season runs through the first week of June.
"The feedback that we receive from players and their families is extremely positive. Rugby is a sport that promotes and requires a great deal of camaraderie, fitness, team work and the opportunity for boys and girls of varying athletic abilities to excel on the field. Many of us have been around the game for decades and have experienced many of these benefits, which we are now very happy to teach to the kids while they experience them firsthand," said Kurt Mika, a Glen Ellyn Park District Youth Rugby coach and the Co-Chair of the program.
Participants are required to register with both the Glen Ellyn Park District and USA Rugby. Instructions for registering, along with additional information, are available at www.geyouthrugby.org.
March 9 is the regular registration deadline.
Practices are held three days each week, with games taking place on weekends at various locations. A mouth guard and soccer/football cleats are required. Glen Ellyn Park District will supply a T-shirt, shorts, and socks. For more information about Youth Rugby through the Glen Ellyn Park District, please contact Clint Babicz at email@example.com, or at (630) 942-7290.