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Young Players Relish EIRA Camp

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Young Players Relish EIRA Camp

Players at the younger EIRA camp in Elkhart, Ind. Alex Goff photo.

Eagle Impact Rugby Academy's U16 Boys camp last week attracted 75 players to Elkhart, Ind.

The players enjoyed a wealth of space and perfect green grass at the Moose Rugby Grounds, which boasts 13 acres of rugby-specific space on well-tended natural grass. The players, grateful for the opportunity, repeatedly stopped facility director Bart Bottorff to thank him for hosting them—it was that kind of week.

These camps have changed over the years. Zachary Ring (Birmingham Buccaneers), who was at his third camp, said he was very nervous when he arrived before he was even a teenager, but this year was one player who gave a speech to the new kids telling them they will make mistakes, and work through it, and are there to learn.

"The top-level coaching, knowing you're getting the best of the best ... it still hasn't hit me to think about it," said Kegan McCallum (Richmond Strikers). "We have coaches who've coached national teams here."

Behind it all is the idea that some time, maybe next year, they will get back to touring.

After over a year of basically no rugby, and two lost summers when it comes to getting out of the country, the players are thinking about travel again.

"It's a crazy though, I mean I've never left the country before," said McCallum. "The farthest I've gone is to Arizona and that was for an EIRA camp. The idea of traveling the world to play the sport I love ... mind-boggling."

It's possibly a year away, but, added Yuya Hayaski of the Doylestown program in Pennsylvania, "we are so excited for that."