Rugby club invites youngsters to check out one of community’s newest sports

“Ruck,” “scrum,” “try?” These are all new terms to the 30 athletes who have joined the Hudson Rugby Club’s youth program this fall, but eventually the terms will be as familiar as “touchdown,” “field goal” and “tackle.”

Offered through Hudson Community Education and Recreation as an after-school activity for kindergarten through fifth-grade girls and boys, youth rugby is just taking off here in Hudson.

The Hudson Rugby Club was started in 2002 by former player and Hudson resident Brian McCue. In the 20 years since, the club has evolved to both girls and boys club teams at the high school and middle school. The teams are ever-growing and competitive. In the last eight years, the Hudson High School girls team has won two state championships and placed runner-up twice. The HHS boys went 5-1 in league play and lost in the playoffs to state runner-up Avon Lake last spring. The middle school girls team has won both state and city championships, and boys have won the city championships two times and finished runner-up in states once. HRC has even sent two HHS rugby players to Harvard University on rugby scholarships. Hudson rugby is quite the force.

What is most compelling about the Hudson Rugby Club is the welcoming atmosphere. Shari Rubiano, mother of middle school player Roxi, was blown away by the collaborative nature of the team and camaraderie amongst the players. 

“New players are welcomed and ‘taken under the wing’ of more seasoned players, who are happy to share their love of the sport,” she said. “The players and coaches truly love the sport. High school players regularly help the middle school coaches with practices and always greet my child by name with a warm smile, even when we’ve encountered them outside of practice! The only drawback is we have to wait until spring every year to play again!”

To continue offering a strong program at the middle and high school levels, the after-school youth program was introduced in fall 2021 with the help of parent volunteer and 2008 D1 National Champion (Life University) Andrew Kender. 

“Rugby reaches high levels of competition, such as representing our nation on the USA Eagles National Rugby squad. Rugby is even in the Olympics. I’ve actually played with some guys who were on the Olympic team. So cool to see that!” Kender said. “That’s pretty far down the road when you are a first-grader, but it’s very appealing and gives young dreamers a high-level goal to focus on as they learn and grow as athletes.”

Caitlin Weigel was one of those dreamers. The former Hudson rugby captain went on to play for Harvard and beyond.

“I am so grateful for Hudson Rugby, and the opportunity to have played rugby in high school,” Weigel said. “Since playing rugby in college and now playing in the Women’s Premier League, I constantly hear about women who found rugby later in their athletic careers. It makes me so grateful that there was space for me to start playing rugby when I was young. I hope that more girls and young women participate in rugby and find a community that celebrates, challenges and empowers them to be the strongest versions of themselves.”

Club Director Ryan Regan is excited about what is to come for the Hudson Rugby Club.

“Each of our youth sessions has been full. Now we are looking to really expand the club and sport with a youth league next spring for girls and boys K-5, in addition to the after-school programming,” he said.

The club is still working out the details with HCER, but if you and your child are looking for a new sport to try, check out the Hudson Rugby Club online,, and keep your eye open for updates from HCER in the spring.  ∞

Photo: Building on years of success and growth, The Hudson Rugby Club is expanding its programming to children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Photo submitted.