Duval Tides Girls High School Rugby has announced the launch of the 2023 fall season and is actively recruiting new players across Northeast Florida.
Now in its second season, the pioneering girls high school rugby team practices begin on Nov. 7, and no experience is necessary. There will be a player and parent interest meeting on Sept. 30 at Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. from noon to 2 p.m. It is open to all high school-aged women.
Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The Rugby World Cup is the third largest sporting event in the world, second only to the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics. It is also one of the fastest growing sports on college campuses.
For women, rugby is an NCAA Division I and II emerging sport, but it is not currently an NCAA sport for men. Rugby teams are currently in place at 58 colleges in America, primarily on the East Coast.
Positions in rugby are suited for a variety of sizes and skills, from height and strength to speed and agility. It is a continuous game with very few stops that teaches quick decision-making skills and builds physical endurance.
Local rugby leaders celebrate the game’s ability to promote teamwork at every level, a skill that serves girls throughout their lives.
“Duval Tides is a wonderful opportunity for young women in our community to build confidence and strength, both on the pitch and in the classroom,” said Melissa Butler, Duval Tides High School Rugby team coach and founder of Jacksonville Women’s Rugby Football Club. “We are a new team and looking for young women who want to join our pioneering team and make an impact on the next generation of female players in their communities nationwide.”
The first rugby game played in the United States took place in Boston in 1875. At the time, rugby, soccer and American football were growing in popularity at elite East Coast universities. The sport’s roots can be traced back 2,000 years to ancient Rome.
The Jacksonville Rugby Football Club celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, and the Jacksonville Women’s Rugby Club just wrapped its 17th season this summer. In 2006, the Jacksonville Axemen Rugby Club was established as a member of the American National Rugby League.
At the local collegiate level, the University of North Florida’s men's rugby team was founded 18 years ago. In 2019, the Jacksonville Wolverines Boys High School Rugby Club was created and the team won the Florida State Championship in its inaugural year. Soon thereafter, the Jacksonville Women’s Rugby Club established the Duval Tides High School Girls Rugby Team in 2022.
Duval Tides High School Girls Rugby Team practice begins on Nov. 7 and will take place twice weekly from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Fort Family Park, 8000 Baymeadows Road East.
No tryouts will be conducted, and no experience is necessary. Players at all skill levels are welcome.
For more information on how to register, email Jaxgirlsrugby@gmail.com or go to @jaxgirlshsrugby on Facebook and Instagram.
Jacksonville Women’s Rugby Club and the Duval Tides High School Girls Rugby Team is sponsored by The Creech Crew Reality and TSI Health, LLC.