WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 7, 2023) – Old Glory DC is proud to announce that Simon Cross has been named its new Head Coach. Cross will lead Old Glory’s coaching staff from the 2024 through the 2026 Major League Rugby seasons. Cross will succeed former Head Coach Josh Syms, who led Old Glory to its first MLR playoff appearance and playoff win in 2023.
A Scottish national, Cross comes with a distinguished resume as both a coach and player, having most recently served since 2018 as Defense Coach for the Dragons in the United Rugby Championship, contested by professional teams from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, and South Africa (formerly the Pro14 competition).
Prior to his Dragons role, Cross coached at both professional and international levels, including assignments with the English Premiership club Worcester Warriors as well as the Scotland U18 and U20 sides. As a player, Cross represented the Premiership club Wasps for three years before becoming a fixture at Edinburgh Rugby from 2003 through 2010 and being named to the Scotland 7’s team in 2007.
“It only took a few conversations with the owners for me to believe D.C. is the right opportunity for me to take on this kind of challenge,” said Cross. “The organization’s culture and commitment to growing the game in the U.S., the core of players they have assembled, the strong coaching they’ve had so far, and the facilities and resources invested in the team all set the foundation for success. At the same time, I’ve studied many of their games this year, visited training, and attended one game live, and I have a clear sense of where I can contribute.”
“Simon’s history is as a defensive coach,” observed Old Glory’s chairman, Chris Dunlavey, adding: “They say offense may catch the fans’ attention, but it’s defense that wins championships. Simon’s level of experience, knowledge of the game, and network throughout the rugby world make it clear he can lead us to success in MLR.”
Added co-owner Paul Sheehy: “Simon has an outstanding breadth of experience and an excellent sense of where Old Glory is today and where we need to go. We are excited to start the Simon Cross Era.”
Cross, a father of two boys, was also attracted by the prospects of moving his family to the Greater Washington area but also, in a way, returning to the Scottish Rugby fold through the involvement of the Scottish Rugby Union in Old Glory’s ownership. Said Cross, “In visiting D.C., I got a chance to review not only the team but the city and a number of parts of the area, and the family and I are greatly looking forward to the new adventure of living, working, going to school, and playing sports here.”
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About Old Glory DC
Old Glory is greater Washington’s professional rugby team and represents the region in Major League Rugby (MLR), a North American league that includes teams in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New England, New York, New Orleans, Seattle, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and Toronto. Old Glory was founded in 2018 by life-long DC area residents, business leaders, and rugby players Chris Dunlavey and Paul Sheehy. In 2019, the Scottish Rugby Union joined the partnership, while investors Pablo Calderini, Paxton Baker, and Verdine White joined in 2023. Old Glory completed the 2023 season with its first MLR playoff appearance, reaching the Eastern Conference championship game. For more, visit oldglorydc.com.