By Sarah Slayman
Last year, Matt Carle decided to relaunch the Grove City Rugby Club and has taken on the role of head coach. The players are entering their second season this spring and are looking for additional teammates.
The rugby program began in 1998 and ran until 2007 when the head coach resigned, ultimately ending the sport in the area. Carle, and a few of his fellow coaches, played during those years and he says it was one of their most meaningful life experiences. He still has strong friendships from his team all those years ago.
Carle always wondered what it would be like to resurrect the program. After much encouragement, he contacted Rugby Ohio. With their support, his dream came to life, and Grove City had an official team by the spring of 2022.
“Rugby was a huge part of our lives and I just want to give kids the opportunities that I had in high school,” said Carle.
The past season centered around simply teaching the players the fundamentals of the game and building their confidence on the field. So many of them fell in love with the sport and plan to return this coming season. The goal this year is to expand the team to maximize the opportunities on the field and within the program.
Students from all South-Western City School District high schools are invited to participate.
“Being a part of a team is going to carry with you your whole life,” said the coach.
Carle is a big advocate for students playing as many different sports in high school as they can.
“Get them active, looking forward to something and on that path that will get them to graduation. Rugby can play a small part in that,” he said.
Practices begin on Feb. 28 at Central Crossing High School. No prior experience is necessary.
“Come out and give it a shot,” said Carle.
Participants have the option to opt out if they finds that after a few practices the sport isn’t for them. The practice schedule is flexible and gives students room for other hobbies or part-time jobs.
Coaches will host various recruitment days where they will be available at the high schools to answer any questions students might have. The schedule includes:
•Jan. 31 at Central Crossing High School
•Feb. 7 at Westland High School
•Feb 14 at Franklin Heights High School
If interested, email Matt Carle at grovecityrugby.com or keep up with the team on Facebook at ‘Grove City Rugby’ or on Instagram @gcrc_gamecocks.