Akron’s Women Rugby recruiting new players
AKRON — Akron’s Women Rugby is heading into its 12th year, and the team is looking for women who want to join in on the fun.
Leila Halay, who has been playing since 2001, described Akron Women’s Rugby as “a competitive rugby team that competes against Division II women’s clubs and collegiate sides in the region.”
“The Akron Women’s Side was spawned into existence in the fall of 2001 with 13 players. The players were mostly friends and significant others of players from the men’s team,” she said. “There have been many ups and downs with the club, but because of its resilience and many of the women’s love for the sport, the club has continuously been doing well for the past few years.”
Halay said rugby is played with 15 women on the field for each team at all times, and the women’s team currently has approximately 20 players.
For those women who are interested in joining the team, Halay said, Akron’s Women Rugby is always looking for new members.
“There are never tryouts for the team. We take all women who are 18 and over,” she said. “The team never discriminates, and we welcome all who are interested in playing and learning the sport. The club has such a fun and diverse population, it always makes practicing and playing fun. There are players as young as 18 years old and some over the age of 30. There are all different backgrounds, such as those who are college students, to those who are business professionals, so everyone is welcomed to play.”
To join the team, Halay said, women are asked to commit to two weekly practices (on Tuesdays and Thursdays), the weekly games (on Saturdays) and be able to pay team dues.
“Games can be at our pitch, which is in Akron, or we travel for some games as well,” she said. “So a person needs to be able to be flexible and willing to travel some weekends. It is always fun when we travel, though. We camp out or get hotel rooms, and after games that are in Rochester or in Dayton, let’s say, we stay as a team and experience what the city has to offer.”
Akron’s Women Rugby plays two seasons, Halay said.
“In the fall, that is our competitive, league play. We play other women’s teams who are in our league. This includes Cleveland’s Iron Maidens, the Pittsburgh Angels, Buffalo and Ann Arbor,” she explained. “In the spring, it is more of what we call a social season, and it includes teams like Oberlin College, Ashland College, Sciota Valley in Columbus, Rochester in New York and the Kelts in Cincinnati.”
Akron’s Women Rugby’s record this past fall was 4-2. In the spring, the team finished with a 3-1 mark.
“The team did not make it to any league championships. However, we considered it an improvement over the past years. We ended with a winning record and had improved player numbers,” Halay stated. “Considering where the team was at a few years ago, we are very successful. We have a coach [Dominic Tomei] who is a player on the men’s team. He has been very dedicated to getting the women’s team in shape, helping to build our core fundamental skills, as well as helping us make our way to being a team to notice in our league.”
Halay said the team is looking for further improvement heading into the new fall season.
“We are always looking to improve and better ourselves as a team,” she said. “This includes getting in better shape, building endurance, improving on skill sets, and fundamentals.”
Another way the team is looking to improve, Halay said, is through recruiting.
“We are always recruiting and would love to have more numbers every season,” she said. “In league play, we play A-side games, which is similar to varsity, and B-side games, which is similar to JV [junior varsity], so having the players for these games is really nice.”
The fall season will start next month, Halay said, with the first game tentatively scheduled for the second weekend of August.
“Practices go throughout the summer and get more serious as we get closer to league play,” she said. “The fall games go up until November. We have the winter off, and around mid-January we start practicing for the spring season, which starts in March.”
The team practices at its pitch, which is located at 1763 Wadsworth Road in Akron.
“We are one of the very few teams who owns its own pitch, and we are very proud of that fact,” she said. “Games are pretty much every Saturday [at 11 a.m.] and alternate between home or away.”
For more information about Akron’s Women Rugby, including the team’s schedule when it becomes official, go to www.akronrugby.com.
“The forum is great for up-to-date information on games, tournaments, fundraisers or socials,” Halay said. “There is also a recruiting section on the website that lists contact information for the team’s recruiters.”
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