Issued by the Urban Rugby Championship
It was 2015 in Las Vegas when the founders of ICEF Rugby, Stuart Krohn, and Memphis Inner City Rugby (MICR), Shane Young, crossed paths while coaching their student athletes at the Vegas 7s Tournament. Despite nearly 2,000 miles separating the programs - there was a clear abundance of commonalities in the missions, ethos, services, challenges, and target demographic of both organizations. This brief interaction conceived the relationship and thought work that would eventually unite these programs - and other similar ones - under the Urban Rugby Initiative.
In 2022, MICR hosted the inaugural Urban Rugby Championship (URC) that featured programs from coast to coast. This was the first time in American rugby history that young people of color from under-resourced communities were united and embraced by something exclusively for their benefit. The tournament featured faced-paced 7s rugby with an injection of culture and spirit rarely seen in our sport. It was impossible not to notice the release of repressed energy, trauma, and emotional hardship that our young people needed to release after being disproportionately affected by the isolation of the pandemic for two years prior to the event.
2023 Competing Teams
The young people built lasting friendships which will become stronger as they meet again in Los Angeles for the 2nd Annual Urban Rugby Championship. Our friends at ATLAS USA have led the way in making this tournament possible for student-athletes who could never otherwise afford to travel and participate. Not only did they fund travel, nutrition, and shirts for the inaugural URC, but they have returned for year two - helping young people from DC, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Memphis be part of the special tournament once again.
While the URC is vibrant, meaningful, unique, high-impact and managed by effective leadership its existence is hanging in the balance due to limited resources. We sincerely thank ATLAS USA for investing in this work - as well the Todd Clever Foundation, AEG Rugby, the US Rugby Foundation, San Diego Legion, US Youth and High School Rugby, and Rugby LA. As we work together to sustain this impact, we will continue to strengthen the Urban Rugby Initiative so that one day - any educator, rugger, or leader can find guidance, resources, support, program models, and a community with which to engage underserved demographics in the sport of rugby.
We invite all the readers of this letter to join us on February 24th and 25th in Los Angeles at Dignity Health Sports Park to witness the magic of the URCs. In the name of closing the opportunity gap, cultivating upward mobility, and creating a supportive community for marginalized youth - we kick off the 2023 Urban Rugby Championships!
Schedule of Events
Thursday February 23
- 630pm-8:30pm Pre-tourney Dinner - View Park High School (5701 Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles)
Friday February 24 | Rancho Cienega, 5001 Obama Blvd. LA 90016
|8:00 AM||Washington DC vs Chicago Lions||Boys|
|8:20 AM||Dallas Youth vs Warren HS A||Boys|
|8.40 AM||Chicago Lions vs Dallas Youth||Girls|
|9:00 AM||ICEF View Park v Memphis Inner City||Girls|
|9:20 AM||Memphis Inner City vs Family Faith Dallas||Boys|
|9.40 AM||Warren HS B vs ICEF View Park||Boys|
|10:00 AM||Dallas Youth v Warren HS||Girls|
|10:20 AM||Memphis Inner City v Family Faith Dalls||Girls|
|10:40 AM||Washington DC vs Dallas Youth||Boys|
|11:00 AM||Chicago Lions vs Warren HS A||Boys|
|11:20 AM||Memphis Inner City vs Warren HS B||Boys|
|11:40 AM||Family Faith Dallas vs ICEF View Park||Boys|
|12:00 PM||Chicago Lions v Warren HS||Girls|
|12:20 PM||ICEF View Park v Family Faith Dallas||Girls|
|12:40 PM||Washington DC vs Warren HS A||Boys|
|1:00 PM||Chicago Lions vs Dallas Youth||Boys|
|1:20 PM||Memphis Inner City vs ICEF View Park||Boys|
|1:40 PM||Family Faith Dallas vs Warren HS B||Boys|
|2:00 PM||Chicago Lions vs ICEF View Park||Girls|
|2:20 PM||Dallas Youth vs Memphis Inner City||Girls|
|2:40 PM||Warren vs Family Faith Dallas||Girls|
Saturday February 25th
- 8:00 - 11:00am | URC Finals - Dignity Health Sports Complex - (Outside Fields)
- 5:00 - 5:30pm URC Presentation - Rugby LA Suite - Dignity Health Stadium
The Atlas Foundation
US Rugby Foundation
San Diego Legion Foundation
USA Youth & High School Rugby
The Todd Clever Foundation