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 – The most glaring and obvious difference between rugby in the USA and the rest of the rugby world, is the development of a professional game. Now, I’m not going to blame anyone, other than the people who turned rugby to what it is today (American Football), but it is now time to fix this problem, to develop a professional game.
The easiest way to develop a professional game in America would be to develop an international competition: create a Six Nations type competition in The Americas. From there, the game will grow itself. It’s worked in other places on a smaller scale so why not in America. Looking at the Harlequin’s rugby league they did the same type of model. They created a professional team with no feeder system and then used the professional team to develop the necessary systems.
Can it work in the USA, though? Well, one thing is for sure that there needs to be a higher level of development than just the super league. For the USA to get better there needs to be a higher level of competition than just playing one off tests every once in a while. Yet, the question still becomes weather or not developing from the top down is efficient and effective.
Can we develop from the bottom up? The game is growing at an exponential rate and now we have the system in place through youth rugby to develop a higher level of competition. We should use this system to more of an advantage. At the moment we have the opportunity to do this. The USA has just been awarded the Junior World Rugby Trophy and this should be used to promote the international/professional game.
The final question is when is the right time to implement a professional league. I believe that at the moment the game is not at the level to develop the professional game. I don’t see that the USA has the ability to support another major national league that doesn’t have a complete following. So how can we do it? I feel that the next best thing to placing a professional league in the USA is going to be to put a professional team into a European competition.
When looking into adding this team we must go to Europe simply because of the ability to easily travel there. The team would need to be based on the east coast, and would need to have a major backing behind it in terms of local support. The one major thing that I see that will be a hindering factor though is the problem of monetary support behind the team. At the moment why would you want to sponsor a team that in there own home country is not a major sport?
How do you feel that we can develop the professional/international game?