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.
This week, I asked myself the hard question about there being room in the USA for another major professional sport; like professional Rugby Union. Unfortunately, my answer was not positive. While I see rugby growing in the next 10-15 years to the point that we do have it on the professional level, I don’t see as more than the size of the WNBA. I don’t see it going much further, any faster than that. However, what about the the other code of rugby… Rugby League?
My credentials? I’m a referee for Rugby Union, Rugby League and also Football/Soccer). What I see in the United States is the respective ways that these games have been developed. Rugby Union has gone for the straight approach of gaining a player base. Rugby League has gone for the professional fan base. Soccer has attempted to build a through a heavy youth-playing base.
Rugby Union can borrow from the other two sports and a lot can be learned from an administrative perspective. When looking at Rugby League it’s clear that they have a decent program when over 2000 fans attend a single match. I’ve seen just that at regular club game once in the United States, but it doesn’t happen often. What are they doing that’s different? They have been able to promote a brand of rugby that is fast and continuous and easy to understand. Something people want to see. When was the last time that your team actively went out and promoted an open game within the public?
From soccer, the biggest thing that American Rugby Union can be followers in is the area of youth development. There still aren’t enough kids playing at a young age. Fore the most part, we have players coming in at the age of 14 at the earliest. There has been some substantial youth development done – and that’s a credit to USA Rugby and Rugby USA – but teams should be actively promoting the game through the use of tag or touch rugby at a young age. Wouldn’t it be great to see a bunch of parents coming together on a weekday night to watch their young kids play rugby?
What are your thoughts?