A small, but tightly knit group of women is working hard to fuel the up-and-coming women’s rugby team at SF State.
Sophomore Hailey House is the founder and captain of the team. House originally played on the women’s team at the University of San Francisco, where she noticed that a good portion of the team was made up of students from SF State. After taking some time off from playing due to injuries, House decided that it was time for SF State to have a team of its own.
“It creates competition and it doesn’t have to be aggressive or anything like that,” said House. “It’s just competition and it’s somebody else in our league that we can play with.”
The team was founded in fall of 2017, but so far they have had difficulty recruiting. They don’t have the seven players that are required for a full team yet.
“Women’s rugby is really hard to recruit for because usually girls don’t see themselves playing,” said House. “The line is like, ‘oh I can never do that, oh I could never tackle,’ and they can. I have definitely seen all different girls from all walks of life come and just find something in themselves to really go at it.”
About 20 women have shown up to practice in the past, but only about five or six have remained. Freshman Mikayla Bermudez is one member that has stuck with the team since its start.
“Even though there’s like five of us, we all share a bond and it’s kind of like unbreakable, even though that sounds hella cheesy,” Bermudez laughed. “But it’s what keeps us together and what keeps us [willing] to trust the process.”
Like several of the other members, Bermudez has never played rugby before. She, along with freshman Fia Tautolo, advocates coming out to practice with the team to try something new.
“It wasn’t that hard because they helped me, and being thrown into the drills, I was forced to learn fast,” said Tautolo in regard to adapting to the new sport.
Because many members come from playing other sports like soccer and track and field, House tries her best to help every player find their niche on the team. She is taking her own experience from playing in other leagues to create exercises that will aid women of all backgrounds in finding their ideal position.
“What I hope to do eventually, once we have enough interest, is to make a rookie day, where people can come out and we have different stations,” said House. “I would love to teach everybody and just have a really good time making that team environment. Even if people don’t feel like they can do it, I’d really like everybody to come out and try it.”
The team will continue to make progress in hopes of forming a complete sevens team by this summer. House invites those who are interested to come out to practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the West Campus Green.