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Girls Participation in Youth and HS Rugby Sees Massive Increase

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Girls Participation in Youth and HS Rugby Sees Massive Increase

Photo Amy Morrison.

Girls HS fall 7s is bringing players back to the game.

That is the conclusion from statistics shared by the USA Youth and High School.

USA Rugby reported statistics say that 5,911 youth and HS players have registered for the fall. Of those, just over 4,000 are in high school, and the majority of those are girls. The only category in which there are significantly more boys than girls playing this fall is in U14 contact, where boys outnumber girls more than 4:1. 

But overall 46% of Youth and HS players this fall are girls. The total number of girls registered, 2711 (which includes about 400 non-contact players) is a 176% increase over the average number from 2015-2019. That is, by any metric, a massive increase.


"I think with the COVID restrictions being loosened on school sports, girls are looking for opportunities now to get out and try something new," said Marcia Smith, who coaches the Salem Snapping Turtles in Rugby Oregon's Girls fall 7s. "Rugby creates an environment that allows players to feel safe, relieve some stress, and bond with teammates that other team sports can't offer."

There's a lot to be said for that, and we are also just seeing more and better organized fall competitions, from the Wisconsin girls 15s league, to vibrant girls 7s in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Utah, Idaho, Iowa, and Oregon.

Basically it's a case of having a well-run team and a well-run competition available just opens the door.

"Girls are showing the world that there are no limits to what they can do and are looking for ways to push themselves," said Smith. "As long as we keep striving to have rugby as an option out there for them, the numbers will continue to increase."