California State University, Monterey Bay’s rugby team has reunited on the pitch. Regardless of the circumstances, the program is rebuilding its roster and preparing for competition with new and returning talent.
Club members have remained patient this year. Returning athletes hoped to get back into the action after an entire year away from the sport, but the wait was far from over.
Sports clubs were permitted to begin practicing on Sept. 20; however, men’s rugby was not able to utilize the recreation field until Sept. 27 because the majority of the team wasn’t permitted.
While many new members hadn’t filled out required health paperwork, a significant number of players that did were not processed or approved.
The pandemic has created many problems, but this isn’t unfamiliar to the team. Men’s rugby is moving forward with a solution-focused approach.
They are focusing on what’s in the program’s control instead of dwelling on roadblocks.
The Monterey Bay Athletics Department is no longer willing to provide an athletic trainer for events. The State of California removed the Sports Club Councils’ ability to hire an independent trainer, and the budget cannot afford the team a trainer.
Without an athletic trainer, men’s rugby cannot host home games. It’s been a grueling process for club officers, but they are looking to find workarounds to ensure this season comes to fruition.
Rugby player Samuel Perrello expressed his frustrations with field use requirements.
“The system has hurt our recruitment numbers and ability to practice, to be prepared and safe for our matches,” Perrello said.
The entire team is vaccinated, but because it took submitted paperwork a week to process, many players lost interest and some couldn’t participate entirely.
Steven Ball, the men’s rugby head coach, discussed the roster’s current state.
“What we have is encouraging,” said Ball. “Great chemistry and personalities.”
Ball acknowledged the team needs numbers, but at this point everyone is excited to be on the field again. Young men playing rugby is exciting, and provides a great college experience for athletes.
Practices consist of ball handling drills to improve passing and tackling exercises to prepare new players for contact. Mastering the fundamentals is what Ball believes will lead the team to success.
Mario Coronado, forward player and club Secretary, is excited about the season.
“I’ve been looking forward to this,” Coronado said. “I’m happy to be back and active with my friends.”
New players can join the club on MyRaft and attend practice once they complete their required membership form and daily self-check.
It’s been a fight for the program to get on track, but with new players and hunger for game time, it’s likely to be an action-packed season for men’s rugby.