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Monroe College Launches Women’s Rugby Program Led By U.S. Player

Phaidra Knight
Phaidra Knight Photo Credit: Linkedin

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. --  Monroe College in New Rochelle recently announced that it will launch a Women's Rugby program to start in the Fall 2017 semester.

Phaidra Knight, a well-known and respected U.S. rugby “Player of the Decade” honoree, was named women's coach. She will work with James English, director of Rugby at the college, to build the program.

The Women's program follows the successful launch of the Men’s Rugby program last year. It will provide female student-athletes the opportunity to play competitively at the collegiate level, playing traditional "fifteens" in the fall semester – meaning 15 players per team on the field at a time – and the faster-paced "sevens" tournament-style format during the winter and early spring, according to a release from Monroe College.

The Women’s program will run parallel to Monroe's Men’s program and compete in the NSCRO Tri State Conference, which currently boasts 19 women's collegiate rugby programs.

English and Knight are currently recruiting current and potential “crossover” players of varying rugby experience and skills to join the women’s team for play this fall, the release said.

Interested players should contact English at jenglish@monroecollege.edu.

Knight played with the USA Women’s National Team since 1999, having competed in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Rugby World Cups. In 2002 and 2006, she was recognized as a World Cup All World Team/MVP for her position and, in 2010, was named the USA Rugby “Player of the Decade.”

She is a member of the USA Rugby Congress and the Women’s Sports Foundation Athlete Advisory Board. She earned her undergraduate degree with honors from Alabama State University and her juris doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

In addition to Knight, the Women’s rugby program will be supported by the coaching staff of the Men’s program, who have a wealth of experience leading women’s teams.

English is currently head coach at Women's Premier League New York Rugby Club, which is ranked third in the country, and is the current USA Rugby Women's Collegiate All American Attack Coach.

Additionally, Pro Rugby Ohio and Men's Coach Dylan Fawsitt helped build the Life University Women’s Program in Atlanta, Georgia.

With the introduction of a Women’s Rugby team, the Monroe Mustangs athletic program will run 18 teams across nine sports, according to the release.

Women’s Rugby will be offered as a club sport, yet benefit from many of the same resources available to Monroe’s varsity programs.

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