By DJ Eberle, a student/athlete at Western New England University. He is an offensive tackle, built like his dad; a rugby Prop. Track him on Twitter @Ebstide52
LOS ANGELES, CA – Would it ever be possible for a country like the United States to host something as big as the Rugby World Cup, even though rugby is not a primary sport here? But it is something incredible to imagine.
There are already great steps being taken towards increasing the popularity of rugby here in the United States. One of the first big steps was the creation of NBC Sports Network here for American television. NBC Sports Network will be adding rugby to their new programs. Soon after the NFL Network took on a partnership with Grand Prix Entertainment to cover the July 2013 Grand Prix’s international rugby tournament. Grand Prix was also award the rights to own, operate, and globally broadcast the United States Sevens team. Another step, not as recent but which is becoming more popular, is the Collegiate Club Rugby Championship – a national tournament full of collegiate teams. The championship has featured either BYU or the University of California the past six seasons, but Dartmouth won last year under the tutelage of the new USA 7s coach, Alex Magelby.
This brings us to our most recent turn of events to help popularize rugby in America. Coach Dave Barley of Gloucester Rugby will be taking a six-day trip to New York to help popularize rugby, especially for the youth of America. Coach Barley will be accompanied by other members of the Premiership Clubs on his visit to New York. Barley is very excited for his trip over to the states, to see the progress of the game in America.
“It will be interesting to see what the tag rugby is like over there because it is a developing game for younger kids,” said Barley. “Looking at that will be a great experience for me to go and see that for itself.”
Barley and the other members of the Premiership Clubs will be launching a touch tournament in Central Park, called the Great Campaign Sports Festival. These members want to become very involved in youth rugby down in New York City while they are in the states.
“You can see how rugby is developing over there so there must be a strategic plan to get rugby into schools and colleges and you never know maybe make it into the number one sport in the country,” said Barley.
If Barley’s plan works along with the help from other coaches who may come and do the same, rugby could really take the next step in the United States. Barley is right by targeting the youth, because they are the answer and where the energy should be focused.
Who knows, maybe 10, 15 years down the road the we could see the Rugby World Cup holding matches in the Rose Bowl.