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Life University, Atlanta Youth Rugby Hold Celebration

March 17, 2016



From left to right: Zander Van Schalkwyk, Duncan Van Schalkwyk, Dylan Fawsitt and Life University Athletic Director, Dan Payne

Atlanta Youth Rugby (AYR) recently held its inaugural banquet in the Piedmont Room at the Park Tavern. Among the 160+ attendees were more than 90 youth players in uniform, from AYR as well as from neighboring clubs from Roswell, Newtown, and Alpharetta.

Since 2013, AYR has been sponsored by Life University (LU) both off and on the field. Current and past coaches include Life University players Colton Cariaga, Dylan Fawsitt, Zander Van Schalkwyk, Duncan Van Schalkwyk, and now Rachel Dorminy, Samantha Elmore and Sarah McCandless for AYR’s growing girls side. AYR Advisory Board Chairman Anton Forbes-Roberts said, “Life University’s generosity with time and resources has been absolutely fundamental to our success, and we look forward to an even closer partnership next year as we expand our offering to girls and younger ages.”

As one of the fastest growing high school sports in the country, rugby is finding roots in various metro areas at the youth level in order to serve as feeder programs for high schools and club programs. The mission of Atlanta Youth Rugby is to develop young men and women, with a goal of not only increasing their interest and love of rugby, but also to teach and mentor young minds through sport. As rugby continues to grow, opportunities increase for players looking to achieve even higher levels in collegiate programs, adult club programs, and even a new professional rugby league that has recently incorporated in the United States. Women’s Rugby has ben designated as an emerging sport by the NCAA. Atlanta Youth Rugby is the first step in this emerging pyramid of rugby development.

 The banquet was a chance for the players and parents to show their sense of community and pride in our amazing sport. Now in its 4th year, AYR is entering a new phase of development. Said Forbes-Roberts: “This season has been one of planned growth according to defined objectives. Next year will be even more so as we create a true strategic plan and operational structure to take us to 2020.”

 Dan Payne, LU Athletic Director and keynote speaker at the banquet said, “Developing and supporting youth rugby in and around the Atlanta area is an initiative we’re fully invested in. AYR is doing an amazing job growing the game at the youth level in the city of Atlanta. We all know how valuable our great sport is for using as a vehicle to shape and develop young boys and girls in all communities. We feel very honored and privileged to be able to do our small part in assisting the great work AYR’s leaders are putting forth.” 







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