-For Discover Parkland-
Parkland Warrior is a youth rugby team providing young players a positive outlet to display their character and skills. The recreational program functions as an event that gives high school aged students something to do after school.
The program is run through Summit-Parkland Youth Association, an organization administered through the Franklin-Pierce school district providing extracurricular activities to the area.
The team practices and meets up at Washington High School after school has ended.
Head coach and administrator Jacob Robinson founded the rugby program in October of last year. “[We] wanted to bring a new sport to the area,” Coach Robinson said. “This is a new opportunity for kids to be active and play a sport.”
Robinson credits the Tacoma Rugby Club for donating equipment, coaching, and extending a financial hand for the program. “This club would not be possible without the help of the Tacoma Rugby Club,” Robinson said.
Robinson feels strongly for the community aspect the program offers.
“The rugby community is really cool in the fact that it’s all about people being together as a community,” Robinson said. “Even though there’s a lot of contact in the physical nature of the game, afterwards everyone’s friends and brothers.”
Assistant coach, Charles Ulufale, hopes the program will benefit players in the long term by providing athletic scholarships to colleges or helping them join state teams.
“We hope that rugby is another avenue for them,” Ulufale said.
Ulufale is responsible for coaching and working with the individual players. Along with the athletic development of the players, Ulufale is also mindful of the character development of the program.
“I expect them to be gentlemen, whether it’s during practice or in school,” Ulufale said. “It’s [rugby] a thug sport played by gentlemen.”
Participants of the Warrior enjoy the social experience that the program offers. High School Senior Tobihah Fomai, who plays prop on the team, enjoys meeting new people while playing the game and the close-knit community.
“Everyone’s very close,” Fomai said.
Fomai hopes to play rugby in college after High School. Choices he has considered range from going to Washington State University or even starting out in community college.
High School senior and team captain, Bruce Toala, hopes to apply his leadership skills after school in helping others.
“The experience I’m doing here is not just to get me fit but get me mentally prepared to become a leader in everywhere I go,” Toala said.
Though having an athletic experience in Football while playing at Washington High, this is Toala’s first time playing rugby as a program.
“I didn’t know anything about rugby,” Toala said.
Though most of the student athletes are enrolled from Washington High School, many of the other students come from other Franklin-Pierce county schools.
To stay posted with Parkland Warrior’s schedule and updates, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parkland-Warrior-Rugby/307808336013842
To learn more about the SPYA, visit their website here at http://summitparklandsports.org/Org/Home.aspx?d=b0yuGM9TILJ15xJbiHiGxg==