Cody Kuxmann is a Referee at the London Society Of Rugby Football Union Referees, while studying International Relations at Richmond, The American International University in London. He lives in Richmond Upon Thames but hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
LONDON, ENGLAND – Following last week’s piece on growing Youth Rugby in America through 7s, I thought we should look into Adult Rugby in The States. Immediately, one can see one major problem: the player base is not there. So how can it be fixed?
A simple solution is get more people involved at the “social” rugby level and use the youth level as a “feeder” system. By social level I mean touch rugby. What I would like to invasion is a local league involving anyone.
Why social rugby?
The answer is that in social rugby many different people will come to the game. You’ll have the person who wants to get fit, the person who plays because their significant other plays and you’ll also have the people looking for their next sport. Now, these people will each contribute to the sport in one of two ways; they will either become more interested, a new supporter, or they will become a new player. Sure, they could be completely indifferent but overall the gain would outweigh any indifference and result in a larger player base with more supporters.
As far as I’m concerned, more fans for the sport can never be a bad thing, especially if they are like those you’ll find at 7s tourneys like Las Vegas. They will bring in more money, and also allow for a bigger support of rugby at the community and international level. How will it help at the community level? As we develop the social game, we can then use the benefits to develop the community’s competitive growth.
The other way we would impact the development of the senior game is through the use of youth rugby as a feeder system. In Green Bay for instance, they have a decent amount of teams in the area – around 7 high school teams. The coaching staff for almost all of the teams play or have played for Green Bay’s men’s team. It’s not a city where the kids move away often, so they use this to draw players to the men’s team; a “feeder” system.
I’d like to see an emphasis on “academy” teams that promote players towards men’s teams. This will allow for a higher skill level and also get more players higher playing experience than they would have gotten only playing at the high school level before transitioning to the men’s level. We could easily bring up the competition in the men’s game.
So how has your community tried to increase the adult’s game?
Please comment below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for Team USA 7s Star Matt Hawkins, who contributes every week and is VERY fired up for the next two legs of the HSBC Sevens Series, especially Vegas.