Submitted by Girls Rugby

Sports for girls is on the rise and Girls Rugby is bringing female empowerment to Washington State in a big way using non-contact, flag rugby programs for girls in 2nd through 8th grades. Ready to start their next spring season in Thurston County, Girls Rugby is hoping to reach more players to give them an experience they will never forget. Each Girls Rugby program leads a values-based curriculum and introduces basic rugby skills alongside positive core values and life skills that participants can apply on and off the field of play. Families can expect their daughters to be active, make new friends, and develop themselves not just as an athlete, but as a young woman too.

two young girls playing rugby in Thurston County
Girls Rugby is designed for girls and those that identify as girls to be active and have fun while learning a new sport and making new friends. Photo courtesy: Girls Rugby

“I am so glad we found Girls Rugby, Angel has had so much fun during the last few seasons and has learned a lot,” shares Tia, a parent/guardian of a Girls Rugby player. “The coaches have been absolutely fantastic and we appreciate everything everyone involved has done to create this amazing program.”

Girls Rugby started in Thurston County back in 2019 before the pandemic hit. It was a great first season that introduced a number of girls to the game, something that is not readily available around the country. “The number of opportunities for girls to get involved in rugby at a younger age are few and far between,” explains Co-Founder of Girls Rugby, Erin Kennedy. “Many programs introduce rugby in co-ed environments or go quickly to the tackle version of the game. We wanted to create an environment where girls would feel safe and comfortable trying a new sport and learning something new, while also surrounded and supported by other participants looking for the same thing.”

Girls Rugby accomplished exactly that, after taking two years off after the inaugural season in 2019, the program doubled in size in the fall of 2021. Coming into 2022, the program hopes to grow and reach more children in greater Thurston County. The upcoming spring season will run for seven consecutive weeks from March through May. There are two team locations located in Lacey and in West Olympia open to children 2nd through 8th grades. All participants practice one day during the week for an hour with their team location and then all locations come together for games on Saturday mornings. The structure of the program is meant to be a lower time commitment for families so that they can balance the many other activities going on in their lives.

Large group of girls in a huddle during rugby in Thurston County
Girls Rugby is all about helping players find a community and a place where they feel like they belong. Photo courtesy: Girls Rugby

Lacey Team Information
Practice Days/Time: Wednesdays 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Location: William A. Bush Park – 4400 Chardonnay Dr. SE, Lacey, WA 98513

West Olympia Team Information
Practice Days/Time: Mondays 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Location: Sunrise Park – 505 Bing St. NW, Olympia, WA 98502

Games (Includes Lacey and West Olympia Teams)
Days/Time: Saturdays 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Kettle View Park – 1250 Eagle Bend Dr. SE, Olympia, WA 98501

More information and schedules can be found at the Girls Rugby website.

All Girls Rugby players receive a full uniform consisting of two shirts, a pair of shorts, socks, a Rugby Playbook, a rugby ball, and the entire season with their registration fee. Girls Rugby offers scholarships and is also partnered with Every Kid Sports to provide financial assistance to families in need. Girls Rugby believes in reducing as many barriers as possible to enable more children to have the Girls Rugby experience.

young girl piggybacking on another young girl at rugby practice
All Girls Rugby coaches are volunteers from the community and are trained and certified in coaching best practices and child safeguarding to provide the best experience for participants. Photo courtesy: Girls Rugby

Girls Rugby is devoted to developing participants through sport. In addition to learning the basics of flag rugby, the participants are given different core values and life skills each week to work on throughout the program. Last year in 2021, Girls Rugby reported a number of impact statistics from their programs around the country:

  • 83% of players surveyed reported that playing Girls Rugby helped them to be a better team player and make new friends.
  • 74% of players surveyed reported that playing Girls Rugby helped increase their confidence.
  • 96% of players reported that they loved their coaches.

Families are also seeing the changes in their daughters. When asked about how Girls Rugby was impacting their children, parents/guardians reported:

  • 94% of parents/guardians surveyed reported that they loved the Girls Rugby season.
  • 88% of parents/guardians surveyed reported that playing Girls Rugby has helped increase the confidence of their child/children.
  • 86% of parents/guardians surveyed reported that playing Girls Rugby has helped to make their child/children a better team player.

Read more about Girls Rugby’s impact in their 2020-2021 Annual Report

two adult guardians play rugby with young girls during Rugby Family Day
Girls Rugby finishes every season with a Family Day where parents/guardians, siblings, and other family members get into all the action. Photo courtesy: Girls Rugby

“Girls rugby is amazing!” shares Karen, a parent/guardian of a Girls Rugby player. “It has a curriculum that is unique among all the sports our daughter has tried, with an emphasis on inclusion and leadership skills. It’s well coached and very organized, and there is a place for girls of every size shape, and ability level. We love it!”

The spring season in Thurston County kicks off the week of March 28 and continues through May 21, culminating with the Girls Rugby Family Day where the whole family gets involved to celebrate the season. More information about the program and registration is available at the Girls Rugby website.

For more information or any questions about Girls Rugby in Thurston County, please contact at washington@girlsrugbyinc.com or visit the Girls Rugby website.

You can also follow them on social media on Facebook and Instagram.


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