The UCLA Rugby program has a long and acclaimed history, producing fifteen USA Eagles along with the first-ever Eagles Head Coach, Dennis Storer. Our team of coaches consistently produce All-Americans for both 15s and 7s, and now a player in th newly established Major League Rugby, giving UCLA its reputation for having one of the best collegiate rugby programs in the country. So that the club's reputation can be upheld and built upon, UCLA Rugby needs the funding necessitated by an elite-level sports program.
Rugby is the fastest-growing sport in America, with rising stars from across the country exploding onto the international scene. However, while still in this period of growth, rugby is still not recognized as a varsity sport, and as a result, lacks the funding that other elite-level collegiate programs receive. Locked into fierce competition with teams across the United States, UCLA Rugby relies on its alumni and supporters to compete at the highest level. As the sport continues to grow in America, it is more important than ever that UCLA Rugby is able to maintain its status as a top choice for prospective high-school athletes.
This year's campaign is all about participation, meaning a donation of any amount will help us come closer to our goal of 100 donations of any size. From coaching staff and equipment to flights and meals, every donation will make us more prepared to train, travel, and win.
The history of our program sets a high bar for achievement, and we work hard year-round to live up to those expectations. Last year we made it to the D1A playoffs for 15s, and then after a quick turn-around, made it to the quarterfinals in the CRCs (national 7s tournament). This year, we aim to build off of these successes and go even further in all competitions. We have already started the year off strong, with the 7s team undefeated, winning the first 2 major tournaments of the year. With your support, we want to carry this momentum throughout the year.
Because the program synthesizes 7s and 15s rugby, we arrange games and tournaments for the squad to compete in all year round. The 7s team participates in various tournaments throughout the year; with early tournaments allowing coaches to rotate players and debut new talent, and later tournaments allowing the squad to come together as a cohesive team in preparation for the year end’s CRCs. In addition, the 15s team competes at the highest level of collegiate rugby in D1A, with many friendly games preparing the team for their weekly clashes with top schools such as Berkeley and Saint Mary’s from November to March.
The program has also seen great success in the development of a strong JV and development squad for 15s and 7s. As 15s and 7s fixtures overlap through the tight quarter system, the depth of the UCLA rugby squad becomes increasingly important. With attention put towards the ample organization of JV games throughout the 15s and 7s season, new players are given the opportunity to develop their skills, while coaches are always looking to move developing players into the first-team squads. This not only ensures that our squad is more experienced and robust, but that a better environment is fostered for players to excel and improve.
To learn more about the current UCLA rugby program and it’s activity on and off the field, games are often live-streamed online via FloRugby and YouTube, as well as on major networks such as ESPN and the Pac-12 Network for the year’s biggest tournaments. Social media also provides a window into the world of Bruins Rugby, with our Facebook and Instagram accounts providing consistent updates on game schedules, starting lineups, alumni activity, and philanthropic pursuits.
The success of our program attracts players from all over the world, making our team one of the most diverse groups on campus. Within this, the program cultivates a strong team culture, where players from all backgrounds can feel at home as a family. This culture moves beyond the pitch, as the players stick together in organizing social events, meals, workouts, and international rugby match viewings that the whole team participate in.
The team practices five days a week throughout the academic year, while players also keep up with their own extensive fitness programs. Off the pitch and outside of the gym, an executive team of players and coaches also work to analyze games and develop tactics, ensuring that we are best prepared to compete at the highest level. This is a community that encourages players to push themselves hard and offers the tools and paths forward for their hard work to pay off. We aim to be the best, and we aim to do that by outworking our opposition on and off the pitch.
Those who are a part of the UCLA Rugby program are expected to hold up our team's values. As Bruin rugby players, we strive to always:
- Be hardworking
- Put attitude first
- Be respectful
- Have integrity
- Be honest
- Have a passion for what we do
These values have been passed down from 85 years of rugby at UCLA. The team holds its history with pride and aims to embody the club's values on the field, in training, and in life. There is no stronger reminder of this for players than in the legacy of James Shandorf.
Every donation counts. Your tax-deductible contribution goes a long way in supporting the club and building its history. Every dollar from this campaign will be used to grow the sport that we love at UCLA. Thank you, and we hope to see you at our games this season!