Girls Rugby, Inc: A new platform for the growth of girls rugby

Rugby is on the rise, with girls and women leading that growth.

Rugby is on the rise, with girls and women leading that growth. While USA Rugby has long been a leader in female participation, numbers at the youth levels show there are just over 1,000 girls playing non-contact rugby in the U.S. Rookie Rugby and other state-based programs have driven youth participation for USA Rugby and brought thousands of youth and their families to the game. 

Enter Girls Rugby. Girls Rugby aims to support girls in reaching their potential through rugby with a strong values-based curriculum delivered through girls-only flag rugby programs around the country. The company's focus is on girls in grades 2 through 8 and will offer the opportunity to play rugby while learning about positive core values and gaining life skills. The goal is to expand their initial pilot programs in cities across the country.

"We are so excited to launch Girls Rugby and proud of the product we've put together. We want to increase the opportunities for girls to change their lives through the game we love," explained Hannah Harper, Girls Rugby co-founder, Director of San Diego Girls Rugby and co-founder of the Institute of Rugby. Hannah is joined by Jenn Heinrich, 15-year President of Rugby Oregon and USA Rugby Youth & HS Committee and Congress member, and Erin Kennedy, former USA Rugby Youth Development Manager and current Rugby Canada Mass Participation Consultant.

"We are incredibly passionate about reaching a broader audience of girls and making a positive impact through rugby," Harper continued. "We have seen the success of building girl-specific programs and how successful they can be when done well. We want to be the catalyst for programs all over the U.S. This fall we will begin by rolling out pilot programs in San Diego, Portland and Denver."

Although the team is focused on finding unique ways to fund these programs, one of the core tenants of growing the girls game is garnering supportive stakeholders and donors. Wide-scale support is needed to ensure these programs can grow into the life-changing experiences the founders know they can be.

"We want to engage the rugby community and provide an opportunity to support our mission. Every dollar we raise expands the reach of our program and allows us to start more leagues," detailed Jenn Heinrich. "We are so thankful for every penny raised and we are excited about using our pilot programs as a catalyst for building more programs in more cities across the country."

To support the movement, please visit the Girls Rugby YouCaring page.

"It is our aim to hire program coordinators in every location to manage various leagues," said Kennedy. "Creating paid positions in rugby is a major goal of ours and we hope that we can put many women and men into these roles. In addition to these program coordinators, we will rely heavily on our volunteer coaches and referees, who we plan to support with comprehensive training, materials, and a mentorship program to ensure that they are successful in delivering Girls Rugby programs."

Girls Rugby aims to redefine the way that rugby is branded for girls through the delivery of their programs and their presence online. Girls Rugby will be partnering with USA Rugby in its first year to achieve shared goals and outcomes through their pilot programs. You can learn more about Girls Rugby by visiting