Skill Rugby Launches U-19 Program
On February 24, 2018 Schuylkill River Rugby held a free high school rugby clinic for players in the Philadelphia area. The attendees were mostly comprised of players from the Narberth Otters, North Philadelphia Nomads, and Roman Catholic High School which are all programs with active Schuylkill players on their coaching staffs. Due to the success of the clinic, and based on the positive feedback from the players, it was decided that Schuylkill River would be running a U-19 7s program for the first time in 2018 with the goal of participating in the Subaru 7s tournament on May 19 in Wilmington Delaware and the High School Rugby Championship division of the CRC tournament in Chester on June 2.
Now that the Rugby PA regular season has come to an end we are happy to announce that the U-19 program is starting this week. Practices for the U-19 program will start on Monday May 7 and will be on Monday and Wednesday nights from 5:30-7:30 at Arrow Athletic Field (set your GPS to Arrow Athletic Field, Magdalena St, Philadelphia, PA 19128). If you would like more information please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The U-19 program will be coached by Greg Mininger along with assistant coaches Ben Janssen and Dan Deal. Mininger is a very experienced high school coach who has coached several U-19 all-star teams for the EPRU/Rugby PA previously while Janssen and Deal are top level 7s players who have both played in the Collegiate Rugby Championship, the USA Rugby Men’s Club Championship, and for several elite select sides such as the famed Atlantis program.
Director of Rugby Pat Boyle, who also serves as the Director of 7s for Schuylkill’s nationally recognized program stated that “we are beyond excited to start our U19 7s program, and that was the clear next step in our program’s development. We launched our U23 7s program 2 years ago, and it has been a resounding success. The U23s gave us a lot of confidence we can start developing players even earlier and there is an appetite for it.”
Head 15s Coach Owen Jones, who also ran the U-19 clinic added “rugby is a social game, a global game, and a community game. Our Schuylkill River community extends beyond just our own men’s club and includes local university and U-19 clubs. Past players have given back to the rugby community by taking coaching roles at these clubs and have introduced the game we all love to a younger generation of athletes. Philadelphia is recognized nationally as a rugby community, as evidenced by USA Sevens hosting their Collegiate Rugby Championships in the city with this year’s event being the eighth consecutive year. It is our responsibility as stewards of the game to introduce and engage the younger generation of athletes. We were thrilled at the invitation from Narberth U-19 to attend a practice session of theirs at the start of this spring season as well as have the opportunity for Schuylkill to host a U-19 clinic which was attended by U-19 athletes from several local area clubs. By showing these young rugby players what the sport can bring to them athletically, socially, and professionally, we hope they too will fall in love with rugby as we all have.”
Narberth Head Coach Gabe Gliwa was asked for his opinion of Schuylkill’s recent work with the Otters and had the following to say “This is the second year in a row we have established a working relationship with S’kill. As a guy who played at the college level and men’s level I know the difference in level and style of play from one to the other so I knew the huge difference in style of play from HS to men’s club but that is why I had to have them working together. I want to be sure I prepare these guys for their next step in a rugby career and if possible put them ahead of the guys they will be competing with when they join a college team. S’kill has been fantastic in introducing these guys to other elements of the game that they may not be used to competing against other 15-19yr olds. Beyond that I am only one guy who played a few positions throughout my career, these clinics and joint sessions gives these guys a chance to pick the brains of long tenured players in their position.
Finally, in just a few short years all of the HS players will graduate from college and hopefully be looking to continue with the game on a men’s level. If these introductions, session and clinics can cement the relationship between Narberth and S’kill and lead to my boys playing for my old team…..bonus.”