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USA Rugby, City of Glendale Join Forces Long-Term

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USA Rugby, City of Glendale Join Forces Long-Term

USA vs Canada at Infinity Park from 2019. With a rainbow in the distance. David Barpal photo.

In a move almost overwhelming in its logic, USA Rugby and the City of Glendale have announced a new partnership with the National Governing Body moving its headquarters to Glendale and establishing Infinity Park as the official National Training Center for the Men’s and Women’s Eagles XVs.

This move is the culmination of a goal USA Rugby had back in the early 2000s, when the NGB decided to move from Colorado Springs to a new location that would also double as a national training center. That never quite came to fruition as USA Rugby moved to Boulder, Colo., and then, most recently, Lafayette, Colo. (in an effort to have less expensive office space and be closer to its equipment holding facility).

But when the Colorado Raptors left Major League Rugby, Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon, a longtime rugby guy, said publicly that he was unhappy with the MLR's shift toward using foreign talent, and he had always envisioned Infinity Park as a supporter of American rugby. He hinted that bigger things were to come.

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And with USA Rugby going through bankruptcy proceedings, finding office space and ensuring they do their jobs while saving some money makes sense. For the City of Glendale and Infinity Park, it's a move from one-off or short-term agreements with USA Rugby and instead a long-term partnership that ensures steady use of their facility. The partnership includes the use of Infinity Park as host venue for select USA test matches each year.

“The City of Glendale and Infinity Park have been great partners with USA Rugby and we hope to strengthen the relationship moving forward,” said USA Rugby CEO, Ross Young, “The ongoing reform of the organization requires USA Rugby to redevelop a sustainable operating model where we are grateful the city is open in support.”

USA Rugby's announcement said, in part: "as part of the partnership, Infinity Park will become the preferred host venue for Men’s and Women’s test matches with subsidized facility usage, supporting the opportunity for reinvested funds into those events and programs."

A possible translation of this statement is that the City of Glendale will offer favorable hosting rates for USA Rugby, and that frees up money for USA Rugby to use more funds to make the events nicer, or to put more support behind their national teams. That may not be the full translation, but it's the best GRR can get out of it.

USA Rugby will continue to host international and domestic events at other venues around the country.

For the USA Men’s and Women’s National 15s teams, the partnership will offer a training home, with rugby-specific facilities. With the 7s teams in Chula Vista, Calif., the 15s teams now have a similar place where they always know they will assemble, where they know what to expect.

“This partnership with USA Rugby further confirms Glendale’s commitment to the sport of rugby, and specifically, to the development of US players,” said Dunafon, “We created RugbyTown USA to be the center of excellence for rugby, and we are excited to partner with USA Rugby in realizing that vision.”

USA Rugby's statement also pointed out that the long-term presence of the 15s Eagles in the region will be an excellent opportunity for those players and coaches to interact with young players in the region.

“Our intent is to continue to build our youth program with more camps and more in-school development programs for both boys and girls," said Glendale City Manager Linda Cassaday. "Our commitment to the sport of rugby has not changed, but our focus will now shift from a local to national perspective.”

“We look forward to using this partnership to foster the talents of our elite players and grow rugby through inclusive programs progressing long term success of the sport,” added USA Rugby Independent Director, Julie Lau.