The newly-formed Women’s Premier League gets underway with the first games being played Sunday, September 6. The WPL is comprised of 8 teams which have been chosen by ranking the finish order from the previous three National Championships as well as the clubs’ interest in participation.
The 8 teams have been broken down into two conferences with four teams in each. Each team will play six conference games, one home and one away, against the remaining teams in their conference.
The WPL season will occur during the fall- the same time as the regular women’s club season, with the National Championship being held November 6-8. Teams will be seeded based on the results of their conference play. The top four teams will compete for the Cup and the bottom four for the Bowl.
Seeding and promotion of teams into the WPL will be decided at the end of the season, in hopes of providing an incentive for other teams to want to be included in the league.
Washington DC Furies
Berkeley All Blues
Twin Cities Amazons
Coach: Jan Rutkowski
About: Boston-based Beantown RFC is one of the best teams in the Northeast. They have been to the National Championship Tournament 20+ times since 1980, placing 3rd in 2008. Beantown boasts six players on the current Eagles roster, the most from any team: Mari Wallace, Melanie Denham, Emilie Bydwell, Amy Daniels, Jamie Burke, Kit Wagner and Sharon Blaney.
Coach: Pete Steinberg
About: Keystone was formed by a group of seven women who dreamed of creating a top-notch rugby club in the Philadelphia area. Even though the team is only 8 years old, they quickly transformed themselves into one of the best in the country. Since 2005, Keystone has played in the USA Rugby National Championship Tournament, placing 5th in both 2007 and 2008. Contributing to their success are the many players on the team with years of both national and international experience, including current Eagle, Kim Magrini.
Who: New York
Coach: Ryan Dunnett (thanks to Anonymous in the comments)
Founded: Joined NYRFC in 1997
About: New York has proven itself to be a very strong contender for many years. NYRFC has been to the last 10 National Championship Tournaments, placing in the top 3 since 2002. New York has 3 players on the National squad including, Lara Vivolo, Phaidra Knight and Vanesha McGee.
Who: DC Furies
About: The Furies boast a roster of 30+ including current Eagle Brenna Costello. In last year’s National Championship tournament, the Furies lost the Plate Consolation match to the Amazons, with a score of 24-14. There’s not doubt they will be looking to improve upon last year’s results.
Who: Berkeley All Blues
Coach: Alex Williams
TU: Pacific (*thanks to Rachel for her correction!)
About: This team has become accustomed to winning it all, as they have been crowned National Champs twelve times. The latest being last year with their 25-17 over New York. As with most teams in the WPL, they also have many skillful players who allow them to continue to dominate. Some of which include Eagles Stephanie Bruce, Nathalie Marchino, Blair Groefsema, Ashley English and Victoria Folayan (thanks to Anonymous in the comments).
Who: Minnesota Valkyries
Coach: Barb Fugate
About: In recent years, the Valkyries have emerged as quite a contender finishing in the top 5 of the last 5 National Championship Tournaments. They have continued to move their way up and with players like Jenny Menke, Kristin Zdanczewicz, Melanie Kanuk and Christy Ringgenburg, all current Eagles, it can only be assumed that they’ll continue to do so.
Who: Twin City Amazons
Coach: Roger Bruggemeyer
About: In addition to the players being committed to the sport of rugby, their administration has shown a love for the sport as well. Head coach Bruggemeyer held the position of national coaching instructor and coach for the Midwest Select Side team and former player Anne Barry was once the president of USA Rugby. The Amazons are no stranger to the National Championship tournament and will undoubtedly do their best to make yet another run at it this year. This team recently aquired Eagle Lynelle Kuglar as she made the move to a WPL team (thanks to Anonymous in the comments for this tip).
Coach: Jarred Power
About: The ORSU women are the only senior-level women’s team from Oregon. In order to facilitate an environment that allows for all players of differing skill levels to participate, ORSU will field two squads: the WPL side and a D1 side who will compete in regional D1 level matches. Currently, ORSU has one Eagle on its roster- Beckett Royce. (*Correction from Angelique: OR.S.U has recently gained a second USA Eagles player Ashley Kmiecik, formerly of the Emerald City Mudhens.)
*Make sure to check out YSC Jack's coverage of the August 22, 2009 ORSU vs Mudhens match.