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Old Glory DC Announces Development Partnership

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Old Glory DC Announces Development Partnership

(DC Old Glory Release) — Old Glory DC Rugby has announced a partnership with the Capital Rugby Union (CRU) to begin the creation of a cohesive player development pathway for the Mid-Atlantic region. 

Under this multi-faceted partnership, Old Glory will provide the CRU with sponsorship support, coaching expertise and assistance, marketing support, and player pathway opportunities culminating in prospects for a Major League Ruby contract. Old Glory will also provide kit for both the CRU’s women’s and men’s select sides, which will be known as the Old Glory Capital Selects. The CRU, as the home union for 55 men’s, women’s, and collegiate women’s clubs from D.C, Maryland, Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Raleigh, North Carolina, will serve as a conduit for the development of home-grown players with aspirations to one day compete at the highest levels of North American professional or international rugby. It is expected that the men’s select side will include many of Old Glory’s training players and reserves. 

During the 2020 MLR season, both the men’s and women’s Old Glory Capital Selects sides will play matches as curtain-raisers prior to Old Glory home games. The CRU’s men's and women's select sides are long-established and well developed programs and have played numerous matches featuring both national and international sides, as well as MLR teams in pre-season competition. Most recently, the men’s selects played against the Mexican National Team during the summer of 2019 in Mexico City. 

In 2020, the Old Glory Capital Selects women’s side will be the first to take the field prior to Old Glory’s home match at Catholic University on February 16th against two-time Major League Rugby Champions, Seattle Seawolves. That weekend, the CRU will host Penn State, Life University, and USA Rugby South in a tournament format, with two high-level women’s matches being held immediately prior to the Old Glory’s MLR home opener. 

 “This is the first step in Old Glory leveraging its visibility as a professional team to grow rugby at the grass-roots level in our region,” said Old Glory owner Paul Sheehy. “Our vision is to grow participation in rugby in our region by 50% by 2023. To do that, we’ll have to invest in the game at all levels.”

According to Tim Brown, Old Glory’s Director of Youth and Player Development, “The Capital Rugby Union will now provide a clear pathway for players and coaches to develop their game with their home clubs while potentially growing through the selects program into a genuine potential professional opportunity with MLR. Our goal as a professional team is to promote as many home-grown Mid-Atlantic players as possible to our organization. It’s a true win-win.”

Capital Rugby Union President Matthew Robinette added: "The Union is committed to delivering value to our members for their membership fees. This partnership delivers value to all levels of play through coach and player development on top of the direct opportunity for our men's programs. The women’s programs receive benefit through the Select Side program investment and the coach and player development. On behalf of the leadership of the Union, thank you Old Glory DC! Thank you for understanding the vision of the Union and working to support club rugby in our region and the USA.”