Team photo of several of the USA Rugby & World Rugby Educators and Educators-in-Training in Colorado, September 9-11. Photo via Rugby Americas North.
As rugby continues to grow and thrive across our country, USA Rugby is working hard to build a more diverse corps of Educators and Trainers to help grow the game through Coaching, Refereeing, and Strength & Conditioning certification courses.
USA Rugby's Training and Education staff earned two bigs win recently.
Starting in October, USA Rugby will kick off its first-ever set of spanish language courses offered for coaching and referee clinics in Weston, Florida. The courses will be fully presented in Spanish by World Rugby Educators. Our rugby community is likely to see additional courses in other languages developed over the coming years as the national office expands its educational options.
USA Rugby also recently hosted a three-day workshop in Denver, Colorado that brought Coaches, Referees, and Strength and Conditioning professionals together for educator continuing development training. This event was a first for USA Rugby with its mix of focus areas and the greater diversity of participants, including three invited attendees with Wisconsin ties: Jessica Burda, Mollie Martin, and Harry Laws.
Both Burda and Martin attended to begin their training to be Educators in Coaching and Strength and Conditioning, respectively.
Hailing from Madison, Wis., Burda recently retired from playing for the Wisconsin Women after their 2015 national championship, is an alumnus of the UW-Stevens Point Women's Rugby team, and has been a long-time coach for Wisconsin all-stars, under-19, collegiate and senior women. Although stepping back from head coaching due to her non-rugby career, Burda will continue to be an assistant coach for the Oregon/Stoughton High Schools Boys team during spring competition.
Calling San Diego, Ca., home now, Martin is an alumni of the UW-Milwaukee Women's Rugby team. Martin is thriving in California, working for the American Council on Exercise and building her own business as a local Strength and Conditioning Coach and Fitness Coach. A speedy veteran of all-star rugby, she most recently played for the Women's Premier League's San Diego Surfers in both 15s and 7s. She also trains several local men's and women's rugby programs.
Only recently relocated to Wisconsin, Harry Laws is a long-time World Rugby referee trainer and a member of USA Rugby's referee leadership. He's reached out to our Wisconsin Rugby Referee Society and the WRFU community looks forward to future training opportunities that may grow from welcoming Laws into the neighborhood.
For more information about the training weekend, Rugby Americas North (RAN) media officer Laura Gill featured the weekend in its article "Diversity Not Just a Talking Point for USA Rugby's Training and Education Department." Also a native of Wisconsin, Gill also captured the weekend's highlights in photos and a great video.
Via the article, USA Rugby Director of Training and Education Kenny Forehand shared "To me the weekend is a big step forward on several levels because this is the most diverse group we’ve ever put through. It’s also the first group in which we really pushed this diversity focus, and so it represents the starting point where our initiatives really take hold.”
Rugby Americas North also interviewed World Rugby Trainer Lisa Rosen for the article: "I’m excited about the candidates,” said Rosen. “There were a large number of applications, and the group that is coming are serious rugby people. This is also the first time we have done multi-strand educator training. In the past trainers worked with coach educators, or referee educators in isolation. Now trainers from differing disciplines will work with all the educator candidates to share best practices and learn from each other."
Harry Laws leading one of the indoor training sessions. Photo via Rugby Americas North.
Mollie Martin leading one of her Educator training sessions in Strength and Conditioning. Photo via Rugby Americas North.
Training to be Coach Educators, Coaches worked in small groups throughout the three-day weekend. Jessica Burda, pictured third from left, was impressed by the diversity of the groups. Her eight-person group included six women and participants also included current coaches from some of the country's top teams, in addition to originally hailing from Haiti, Spain, New Zealand, and Trinidad and Tobago. Photo by Rugby Americas North.