Pelican Youth Rugby Academy
The Pelican Youth Rugby Academy Website is now live! Click here to launch the website.
The PELICAN YOUTH RUGBY ACADEMY
The Pelican Youth Rugby Academy is a part of our Club that is dedicated to introducing the game of rugby to teens and children. Young people who learn the game at an early age will have a distinct competitive advantage over players who take the game up after high school. Their skills will be sharper, they will be more coachable, and will have a greater opportunity to earn a college scholarship and selection to all-star and National teams.
Pelican U-19 Rugby Club was originally founded in 2006. The Pelicans won the State Championship in 2007 and placed 3rd in the Southeast Region that year. Over the years, the Pelican U-19 Rugby Club has produced many players who have gone on to play college and club rugby at high levels. Three of our players have won the USA Rugby College National Championship. Others have gone on to coach or referee rugby.
Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in America according to The Spectrum’s website. The driving force behind this growth is youth rugby. Boys and girls from elementary school through high school ages are playing rugby in never before seen numbers! Non-contact rugby is being taught in physical education classes because it’s fun and a great way to drive fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Those who want to proceed into competitive rugby can generally find a youth rugby club in larger metropolitan areas.
Colleges and universities around the country are catching on to rugby. Some schools have formed varsity rugby teams. These schools provide rugby players with various levels of scholarships, tutoring, training facilities, and transportation to games and events. Many others offer rugby as a club sport with varying levels of university support. Some of these schools may provide a rugby specific scholarship.
USA Rugby, our sport’s national governing body, selects elite U-19 players to compete for a spot on the USA High School All American Team (both boy’s and girl’s teams). These teams frequently travel internationally to play.
In Florida, youth rugby began in 2005 when 8 boy’s teams in the U-19 age group formed a league and played a full regular season. Today, there more than 20 varsity teams (U-19), 9 J.V. teams U-17, and 4 girls teams (U-19). Among the girls U-19 teams are the Sebastian River High School girls. This team was the first public school varsity girl’s U-19 rugby program in the USA and many of the team’s graduates have gone on to receive college rugby scholarships.
Florida’s younger players are currently playing in one of 6 competitive clubs which have teams for players age 8 through 8th grade. These teams typically play a scaled down version of the game on a scaled down field. Teams at this level may be co-ed.
The Pelican Youth Rugby Academy will field a U-19 (high school) team for the 2016-2017 season. We also are working to provide rugby to younger aged athletes. Our goal is to bring the sport of rugby to all young athletes from the ages of 8 through 18.
Players and parents can find updates about the launch of our youth program on this website as well as our Facebook pages. We are very interested in connecting with adults with rugby experience who would enjoy coaching or refereeing youth rugby. For additional information, contact Dave McFadden at 813-952-6420.