This month, New York City’s first ever professional rugby team was launched, Rugby United New York and will play an exhibition game at Gaelic Park in Riverdale on March 24th.
Starting next year, the team will be officially playing in the country’s newly formed Major League Rugby and hope to make The Bronx’s Gaelic Park their home for at least a few years.
With rugby been deeply embedded within the Irish community, it’s no surprise that Gaelic Park would be their destination.
An article over at The42 reports:
“With the RUNY centrally focused on building from the very grassroots of New York rugby up, these are exciting times in the Big Apple.
Kennedy has been deeply involved in New York’s rugby scene for a long time and is a board member of the local branch of USA’s Play Rugby, an initiative that provides disadvantaged children with an opportunity to try the sport.
“Every single week in New York City, 5,500 kids from really bad neighbourhoods, usually African-American kids, are playing rugby,” says Kennedy.
“Of all the kids over the 11-year programme, there’s a 99% graduation rate into high schools from neighbourhoods where the normal graduation rate is 37%. A lot of them are now going to college too.”
Kennedy sees these figures as proof of the thirst for rugby in the Big Apple and also the good it can do in people’s lives. Indeed, he cites the values of rugby as a core reason why he believes America will come to love the sport on a truly national scale.”
This is a perfect example how Bronxites from different backgrounds get together to help uplift each other and share in each other’s cultural traditions.
The Bronx is truly a melting pot with folks from all over the globe sharing our beautiful borough.
I’m looking forward to catching a professional game of rugby right here in the Boogie Down!