This next piece is part of our series of spotlights that are being done so that we can all gain a bit more insight into each team's respective coaching staff and key players. Read below for more info on the Minnesota Valkyries!
YSC: What team do you coach and how long have you been coaching?
Barb: MN Valkyries, and in terms of how long, I'd guess more than 10 years. I am not the head coach , per se, but am co-coaching with Martha Daines and Jane Tierney.
YSC: What year was your club established and who established it?
Barb: It was originally the University of Minnesota, established in the late 1970's; we segregated from the UofM team in the mid-'90s to become the Valkyries.
Jane: I’m going to guess that we split from the UofM in about 1990. We adopted the name Valkyries circa 1993 (we then went back to the UofM to form the true college side in 1993-1994). The first years of the Valkyries were made up of almost all alums of the former UofM team.
YSC: Is there a specific style of play that you’re trying to instill in your team? As a coach do you have a specific area of expertise (i.e.: forwards, backs, kicking, scrumhalves etc.)?
Jane: Our coaching staff are students of the game. We may each have areas of focus, but we see rugby as a 1-15 affair. We have worked hard to know the parts of the game OUTSIDE of our area of focus.
YSC: What are your expectations for the WPL?
Jane: A positive for the for the WPL is that it will raise the level of play, not only for the top teams and players, but also for D1 & D2 teams who may want to join the league. A potential negative with the WPL is that the next layers of clubs (D1 and D2) will lose too many key players to WPL clubs and will struggle for a while to remain viable.
YSC: What specific preparations, training camps etc, will your team be participating in to prepare for their upcoming WPL games?
Barb: We held an out-of-town training camp, Aug 22-23.
Name: Kristy Lear
Height/Weight: 5'7" and 140 lbs
Birthplace: Osceola, WI
Current Team/How long have you played for your current team?: MN Valkyries, three years
Past teams?: University of Minnesota, Minnesota U-23 Selects, Midwest U-23, USA U-23, Midwest, USA-A, USA
Primary Position/Secondary Position: Inside/Outside Center or Wing
Occupation: University of Minnesota Admissions Counselor for the College of Education and Human Development
Superstition/Pre-game Ritual?: To hurry up and wait. I will be the first one ready and anxiously waiting to play the game.
When I retire from rugby I will...: be six feet under.
If I had a private jet I would...: take flying lessons so I can learn to do those cool loop-de-loops and then fly my rugby team all over the world to travel and play games.
Who do you predict will be in the final for the 2016 Women's 7s Olympics Games?: USA vs South Africa.