ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Youth Rugby Club is a 501(c)3 charitable foundation created in 2013 with the objective to be able to fund our youth development in more than just rugby. As with many unions across the world, Alaska Rugby realizes that rugby skills developed at a young age are essential, not only for development of high performance rugby, but also to instill core values in our young athletes while having fun and staying healthy. Coaches are all volunteers and are generally players, or retired players from across the Alaska Rugby Union.
In the summer, rugby is happening for youth ages 5-18 at various levels. Younger kids come from 3 different teams in the Anchorage area and play round robin flag matches once a week throughout the summer. High school players practice and compete in full contact scrimmages weekly, following the youth flag matches. Our youth program has also hosted its second annual “Last Frontier Youth 7s” tournament, where teams from all over the USA and world are invited to play at the scenic Alaska Mountain Rugby Grounds. This year, the third annual event will be held on June 23 and 24, 2023. The summer youth season wraps up with a family celebration with food, activities, and t-shirt and rugby ball giveaways.
Youth rugby doesn’t stop during the cold Alaskan winters! Players aged 11-18 are invited to try out for the AKYRC travel squad at the end of October each year. These players work hard all winter training and fundraising to travel somewhere (WARM) in the lower 48 for multiple 7s tournaments each spring. Practices are indoors with focus on fundamental rugby skills, fitness, and gameplay. For winter 2022-2023, Anchorage practices will run every Saturday morning at 7:45-10:30am for the travel side and Monday evening 7:30-10pm. Anchorage rugby starts on October 29th this year. The Matsu Wolves (our newer program in the Valley) will also be practicing on select Saturdays throughout the winter. Players between 11-18 living in the Valley are welcome to reach out about joining the traveling side. Check out our Alaska Youth Rugby Facebook page for additional information, including more about select Saturday sessions for “Rookie Rugby” athletes aged 5-11 this winter!
Recently, we’ve even had Alaska Youth Rugby players shine across the world as athletes and leaders. We have athletes in Division 1 Collegiate rugby programs across the lower 48, as well as high level clubs in other countries, such as Wales. Recently, an Alaska Youth Alumni was named to the USA U18 National Development Team and competed in rugby matches under the USA flag in Europe. Additionally, we have another Alaska Native superstar, Kathryn Treder, representing our country alongside Eagle River hometown hero, Alev Kelter, in New Zealand this October in the Women’s Rugby World Cup to look up to!
Athletes that participate in Alaska Youth Rugby are stronger leaders, athletes, and more culturally aware than their peers. Rugby may not be for everyone, but anyone can come on out and give it a try!
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