ABOUT OLD GLORY DC
Old Glory DC is the first professional rugby team based in the Washington metropolitan area. Old Glory DC was founded in 2018 by life-long DC area residents, business leaders, and rugby players Chris Dunlavey and Paul Sheehy, and in 2019, the Scottish Rugby Union joined the partnership, establishing Scottish Rugby as the only Tier One national governing body in rugby to have linked with an MLR club.
Old Glory DC competes in Major League Rugby (MLR), a professional rugby union league competing in its sixth season in 2023, representing North America’s highest level of rugby competition. Since its inaugural season in 2018, MLR has grown from seven to 13 teams, featuring 12 from the United States and one from Canada.
Old Glory DC plays a 16-game schedule between February and July each season, with eight home games at the team’s home stadium at Segra Field in Leesburg, VA.
MLR and Old Glory DC have continued to prove that fans are falling in love with rugby because of the duality it offers. For some, it’s the intensity, physicality, and speed of the game that gets them hooked. For others, it’s the communal celebration after every match where players and fans from both teams come together to mingle over food or drinks. And for others, it’s the ability to be coached by a professional rugby player in the afternoon and then later that same day cheer on their mentor taking the pitch.
Old Glory DC exists to grow the game of rugby for its supporters, players, and coaches by bringing people together and sharing rugby’s ethos and values throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
Old Glory DC’s mission is to develop an elite Major League Rugby organization that excels both on the pitch and in the community.
We are driven to grow a rich rugby pathway, from youth to professional level, and we strive to become a beacon to all rugby players and supporters in the Mid-Atlantic.
Inclusion. Rugby is for everyone. Our actions and messages foster a sense of belonging and togetherness.
Respect. We come from all walks of life but are bonded by our experiences in the sport. We respect each other, officials, opponents, and, most importantly, the game.
Community. Rugby is a community, locally and internationally. We seek to give back to the community that has given so much to us.
Integrity. Be honest and hold yourself and each other accountable.
Passion. Rugby is a lifestyle. Like our namesake Old Glory, our values are embedded in our fabric, and we proudly and passionately show who we are.
THE MEANING OF OLD GLORY DC
The story of Old Glory begins in the early 19th century when Sea Captain William Driver was gifted an American Flag. According to legend, when Driver raised the flag up the main mast, he lifted his hat and declaimed, “My ship, my country, and my flag, Old Glory.” The nicked-name “Old Glory” took, and the flag accompanied him traveled far and wide during his voyages in 20 years of sea service.
Following his retirement, Captain William Driver moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1837, where he proudly flew the 17-by-10-foot flag of a locust tree. As succession neared, Old Glory became a source of contention as the United States flag was a popular symbol of Union loyalty. Fiercely loyal defiant flying amid the Civil War.
Local Confederates attempted to seize Old Glory soon after Tennessee seceded. When confronted, Driver threatened, “if you want my flag, you’ll have to take it over my dead body.” The flag now in danger, Old Glory was sewn into a bed quilt to protect it. It remained there until late February 1862, when Nashville became the first Southern capital to fall.
When Union troops entered the city, Driver presented the flag to Union commander, General William “Bull” Nelson, who accepted the flag and ordered it run up on the statehouse flagstaff, which was met with cheers from the Sixth Ohio regiment.
Old Glory remained in the Driver family until 1922, when Driver’s descents presented the flag as a gift to President Warren G. Harding, who in turn delivered it to the Smithsonian, where it hangs proudly today in Washington, DC.
FAST FORWARD TO 2018
After considering hundreds of name options proposed by our fans and advisors, club leaders selected Old Glory DC as the team’s official name, a name that speaks to the region’s patriotism and the unique role of our home city as the nation’s capital.
“The response to our Name-The-Team challenge was incredible, with close to 1,000 fans participating,” co-owner Paul Sheehy said. “We had so many great names to choose from, but in the end, we felt we had to choose a name that could only really work in Washington, and that is inclusive of all of the diverse members of our community.”
“And we think our fans will see the deeper meaning,” co-owner Chris Dunlavey added. “Yes, it’s a flag, but Old Glory has been places. It’s battle-scarred. It’s weather-beaten. But still, it flies proudly. It symbolizes all the strength, resilience, commitment, and substance over style that are the hallmarks of rugby and, for that matter, the American character.”