August 31, 2010 — Matthew Newman, a rising 9th grader from Brooklyn, N.Y., was awarded a scholarship to attend the Lifeife donated the scholarship to be awarded by Play Rugby USA, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to providing opportunity and scholarship through rugby for underserved kids. University rugby camp, held July 13-16, 2010.
Newman, a longtime football player, was introduced to rugby by his 7th grade gym teacher. Said Newman, “Both sports are very similar, but what I really like about rugby is that it’s unlimited. You play offense and defense at the same time…I like that.” The rugby camp at Life was a great experience for Newman to learn the positions, strategy, and even some of the off field elements such as physical fitness and nutrition.
Up until the camp, Newman had only played “flag” rugby. His middle school team competed in the New York City-wide Mayor’s Cup, a 58 team competition facilitated by Play Rugby USA. Newman’s team won the competition, and he was named MVP. Christian Mayo, Program Director of Play Rugby USA awarded the scholarship to Matt, “based on his character and athleticism, in addition to his play in the Mayor’s Cup.”
Great rugby experience is not the only thing Newman attained by attending the Life rugby camp. Most of the 65 high school student who attended the camp came from out of state, so they all stayed at the same hotel. “I got to meet people from all over,” said Newman. “My roommate was from North Carolina, and there were guys from California, Europe and even one guy from Korea.”
Said Dan Payne, director of rugby at Life University, “It was incredible to see high school students have such a passion and energy for the game at this age.” Matt Newman fits that description as well. Said Payne, “It was fantastic to watch Matt play and enjoy the game. He had a great impact on his peers and the staff. Play Rugby could not have picked a better recipient for our camp scholarship.”
As for the future, Newman still plans to continue to play football, but he now has aspirations to play rugby in high school and in college. Getting young people interested in rugby is the best way to help the sport continue to grow. Rugby is a popular sport
internationally, but is still growing in the United States. In fact, it is the fastest growing sport in this country, with more colleges and universities elevating the sport to varsity status.
The National Collegiate Rugby Association (NCRA) has recently lunched the rugby Premier League, an elite 31-team league made up of nationally known universities such as Tennessee, UCLA and Notre Dame. Life University is one of the teams in the Premier League, and is ranked eighth going into the inaugural season.
With the success of the inaugural rugby camp, Life plans to add at least one more session next summer and contribute another scholarship for Play Rugby USA to award to a deserving candidate like Matt Newman.
For more information about the Life University rugby program or its camps, please visit www.LifeRugby.com.
Source: Life University, www.life.edu