The San Diego Mustangs youth rugby club begins its 11th season in Carmel Valley this month. The club plays the fastest-growing youth sport in the country and fields teams for players ages 6 to 18.
In conjunction with Serevi Rugby, the Mustangs are conducting a free rugby demonstration day at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 9, at Ocean Air Park, 4770 Fairport Way, San Diego. New players are welcome to come and get instruction from leading coaches, including Matt Hawkins, former captain and coach of the USA Sevens.
Activities will include all the fundamental skills such as passing, evasive running and tackling drills. Throughout the day, touch rugby will be played for each age group, with the U8s starting at 10 a.m. A demonstration touch game will be held at 12:30 p.m. with the U18s taking on their coaches.
The Mustangs will also be at the Nike Rugby Day to be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 14 at Cathedral Catholic.
The Mustangs have garnered a national reputation with the U18s finishing fourth in the nation at last year’s high school national championships. The big boys also won two of the last three Southern California Championships. Not to be outdone, the U8 and U10 teams won the Southern California Championships, with the U10s going on to win the California State Games for the exciting Sevens version of the game. Sevens rugby will be played at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
All Mustang coaches are nationally trained and certified, and pass stringent safety and background checks. Many have played internationally, and a handful represented their country in past World Cups. Matt Hawkins, recently retired coach and captain of the USA Sevens national team, started his son with the Mustangs last year. “I found the Mustangs very well run and the coaching top-notch,” said Hawkins about why he chose the Mustangs Club.
Parents of players often find rugby a safe and exciting new sport. “I have four sons who grew up playing tackle football and baseball, and when they discovered rugby, they took to it like ducks to water,” said rugby dad Steve Goena of Rancho Santa Fe. “Now that I understand the flow and most of the rules, I too have grown to love the game.” Goena’s oldest son, Jake, is now playing rugby for the University of California Bears, a national collegiate powerhouse. Many other Mustangs alum are playing rugby at their respective colleges as well.
Torrey Pines High School, Cathedral Catholic, and many other local high schools now play rugby as a varsity sport. Don’t miss this opportunity right here in your own neighborhood. For information, visit www.sandiegoyouthrugby.com or call Club President David Pool at 858-405-9271.