State of the Old Glory Union

State of the Old Glory Union

Members of Old Glory Nation:

 

Happy New Year and welcome to 2022!  As we look back over the past year, the headline is clear to us:  Rugby in the Mid-Atlantic region is thriving and moving actively toward a bright future!

 

Here at Old Glory DC, we are not only fully committed to delivering the best possible professional rugby viewing experience for the fans of Greater Washington, but also to supporting and celebrating the growth of rugby in our home region at every level.  It is therefore fitting that we take a moment to recognize the accomplishments of all the rugby athletes from across the Mid-Atlantic, as well as Old Glory’s progress as a Major League Rugby club.  What a year we’ve all had together!

 

In 2021, Old Glory completed its first full season in MLR – a league that managed to pull off every one of its 99 scheduled games without a single cancellation, despite the many complications created by the pandemic. While Old Glory’s final record was not what many of us had hoped, we certainly showed along the way that OG can compete with any team in the league.  Make no mistake about it:  it is our commitment to pursue relentlessly the championship that will allow us to bring the MLR Shield home to you, our supporters, here in DC.

 

Meanwhile, our new home at Segra Field proved to be every bit the perfect rugby viewing experience we had hoped.  For those supporters who have yet to join us there, we can assure you that it is among the very best venues in MLR and a beautiful place to watch a game.  We fully recognize that its location outside of DC makes it more of a trip for some of you, but we’re sure all of our fans who have been there will agree:  try it once, and you’ll be back.

 

Of course, our corporate partners, our region’s many rugby clubs and supporting organizations, and our family and individual ticket holders each made sure to bring their own special contributions to our game-day experience.  We can proudly say that OG match days are uniquely rugby, uniquely Old Glory, and uniquely DC.  If you still haven’t taken a bite of Cuisine Solutions’ Big Glory sandwich, taken a sip from a Clonakilty Captain’s Bottle, sat near the Leidos section to cheer alongside the military personnel and their families hosted there, celebrated a try scored in the Iron Vine Security Corner, or tracked down one of the Old Glory owners at a pre-game or post-game tailgate, then you are missing some part of one of the most special experiences in North American rugby.  Finally, our media partners at NBC Sports Washington and The Rugby Network made sure that all of our games, both home and away, were available on TV or online streaming to all of our fans, both throughout our market and around the globe.

 

Meanwhile, Greater Washington scored enormous successes in every milieu where rugby is played – from the Tokyo Olympics and international test matches in London, Dublin, and here in DC, to the Young Glory U23 and U19 academies, to our region’s many club, collegiate, high school and youth programs.  The accomplishments across the board are so numerous we decided to add them as a list at the end of this piece – take a minute to look through it, and we are sure you will be amazed at seeing everything we did together in one place!

 

So what’s in store for 2022?

 

First, you should expect our commitment to the highest levels of rugby performance to be evident on the pitch.  We have invested in expanding our coaching staff, providing Head Coach Andrew Douglas with more support from specialized experts in various parts of the game.  Andrew, in turn, has not only held together the core of the dynamic squad that created so many thrilling memories for us in 2021, but added a number of impact players from both North America (via the collegiate draft and free agent moves) and from around the world.  While we expect you’ll see that same signature style of fast-moving, wide-open play for which Old Glory has become known, we also anticipate many more of those close games breaking our way in 2022.  We’d add that we are also proud of the balance we have struck between the cultivation of home-grown American rugby players – with a wave of remarkable domestic talent now maturing within our organization – and the international players who elevate our performance with highly developed skills and talent.

 

Meanwhile, we are developing a number of enhancements to our match day experience in 2022.  Look to see improvements to our sound system, our in-game entertainment, the theme days and evenings we create with our partners, and the curtain-raiser and half-time games that bring our family of rugby organizations into Segra Field. 

 

One of the most exciting enhancements to that curtain-raiser experience will be the performances of Young Glory – our academy teams at the U23 and U19 levels.  These teams, which include both boys’ and girls’ sides, are now established and in training and will compete against MLR affiliated academy sides and other teams alongside Old Glory games at various dates through the season.

 

Of course, none of this happens without you – the 16th OG.  From our first pre-season games this month (Friday the 21st vs Toronto at 8 pm and Friday the 28th vs New England at 7 pm, both at the St. James), through our eight-game home season from February 18 through May 29 – YOU are an essential part of our success.  

 

WE NEED YOU!  

 

Support our continuing mission to grow the game in greater Washington and the Mid-Atlantic as a whole!  Come to our games, buy a ticket, buy a t-shirt or a jersey, and cheer on our team!  We guarantee a good time.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris Dunlavey and Paul Sheehy

 

Mid-Atlantic Region Rugby Accomplishments in 2021

 

At All Levels of Rugby

  • We achieved a successful and safe return to play following the interruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • In general, rugby programs maintained or grew participation (players, fans, coaches, referees, administrators) across all age levels in the Washington, DC area

 

Contributions to National Rugby

  • Greater Washington locals Abby Gustaitis and Cheta Emba traveled to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Japan
  • Three Old Glory players — Mikey Sosene Feagai, Mike Dabulas, and Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz – were capped for the USA Eagles, and each competed versus England, Ireland, New Zealand, and/or Canada
  • Eight of Old Glory’s U19 Academy girl and boy players attended the 2021 USA Development Winter Camp
  • The Greater Washington region hosted USA Rugby and World Rugby’s Talent Identification Camp on May 15, 2021, to find emerging men’s and women’s players for its junior and senior national teams

 

Old Glory DC 

  • Old Glory DC completed its first full season in Major League Rugby
  • Old Glory DC retained the Cuisine Solutions Cup for the second year in a row
  • Old Glory DC launched “Young Glory” – its U23 and U19 Academies
    • Old Glory DC was the first team in MLR to have U19 academy with both boys and girls teams, and the teams played six matches in 2021 
  • Old Glory partnered with Events DC and the Washington Football Team to host the New Zealand All Blacks vs USA Rugby in the inaugural 1874 Cup at FedExField
  • More than seven Old Glory players helped coach local programs, including Thretton Palamo with DC Youth Rugby; Jack Isacaro with NOVA Women; Stan South at Penn State University; Danny Thomas with West Potomac and Old Glory U19s; Max Lum at the University of Pittsburgh; Josh Brown at Rocky Gorge; Sean Hartig at Rocky Gorge; Simi Moala at Southern VA University; and Api Naikatini at West Potomac.

 

Capital Rugby Union Men’s and Women’s Clubs

  • The community saw new additions to the union, including DC Revolution
  • The Union brought back the Old Glory Capital Selects
    • The Women’s Old Glory Select Side played at the Women’s Dec 4-5 Mary Graham All Star Tournament in Dallas, TX:
      • Almost 50% of the players played for their first time at the select side level 
      • Players represented 9 teams across D1, D2 and D3 levels 
    • The Men’s Old Glory Select Side faced Philly United on December 4, 2021
      • Players represented 15 teams across D1, D2 and D3 levels 
  • Galaxy DCA Touch were National Champions, including Old Glory players Thretton Palamo, Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, and Danny Thomas, Old Glory coach Toshi Palamo, and Sports Scientist Nick Purvis. 

 

Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Rugby

  • Both men’s and women’s collegiate programs were started at Howard University
  • Virginia Tech Men won the DI AA National College Championship
  • The Naval Academy Women won the DI National College Championship 
  • Christendom College won a DIII National Championship 
  • Over 25 area college students played for the Young Glory U23 side, with almost 100 trying out 
  • The following local college graduates will have roles on Old Glory’s first team squad this year: Mo Katz (James Madison University), Matt Gordon (The University of Mary Washington), Mike Dabulas (Pennsylvania State University), Rob Iramescu (Penn State), John Le Vere (Old Dominion University), LJ Koi Larby (Penn State) and Tom Capriotti (Penn State) 

 

High School

  • Old Glory DC boys and girls academies ran throughout the year, playing six games and holding numerous training sessions utilizing our first team coaches 
  • Academy Coach Danny Breda was offered a full-time college coaching position and his “promotion” following his work with OGDC 
  • Old Glory has been visited at some point, either online or in-person, by almost every college men’s varsity program in the east 
  • Old Glory DC had 9 academy graduates from last year’s boy’s team play local college rugby this fall 
  • Fort Hunt, Vienna, and Gonzaga all made it to the National High School Championships
  • Old Glory attended the National High School Championships in KC to support Fort Hunt, Vienna and Gonzaga 
  • Young Glory had over 40 girls, and 170 boys on the field in tryouts, training, and games from as far away as Raleigh-Durham and Philly for our U19 sides in 2021 
  • Old Glory DC provided 18 regional coaches with direct access to Old Glory DC professional team coaches and video to hone their skills working with our U19 and U23 programs 

 

Youth

  • Old Glory worked extensively with the board at DC Youth Rugby to build, maintain and grow the “DC500” program, currently tracking at 160 participants 
  • The team now taught rugby in four school gym classes in Montgomery Co., 2 in Arlington, and 1 in Alexandria through MLR’s schools’ program 
  • Old Glory hosted 300 participants at our event at Eastern High School ahead of the 1874 Cup game 
  • Youth clubs represented half-time mini-games at 7 of 8 Old Glory home games 
  • Old Glory DC delivered free clinics taught at a high level throughout the year all over the region 
  • Old Glory players and staff helped to promote and attend the Virginia high school state championships
  • Old Glory has donated balls to eight different clubs

 

Other

  • Wolfpack Rugby held their first Special Olympics Rugby Clinic 
  • Old Glory held its first in-person community coaching clinic led by Head Coach Andrew Douglas and the Old Glory coaching staff

 

Was your organization’s achievement not listed? Email info@oldglorydc.com and we will add it to the list!

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