Jeff Arker, founder and Chairman of the Board of Rugby Oregon, is a retired rugby player who wanted to be able to introduce the game and its strong sense of sportsmanship and camaraderie to his son and friends. From the first series of clinics for elementary and middle-schoolers in the summer of 1999 the organization has grown to over 1,500 athletes who participate on youth non-contact, middle school and high school teams and in skills camps and clinics throughout the year.
In December of 2002, Rugby Oregon hired President/CEO, Jenn Heinrich, to manage the day-to-day operations as well as develop a vision and strategy for the growth and development of rugby in Oregon and SW Washington. As a result, Rugby Oregon became the model that USA Rugby has used to role out other State Rugby Organizations throughout the country.
Historically the focus of Rugby Oregon had been at the high school level. In April of 2012, Rugby Oregon hired Development Director, Troy Hall, to focus on the growth and development of rugby in the elementary and middle schools. As a result, thousands of kids are experiencing rugby through PE in school and hundreds have joined leagues and participate in skills and summer camps through the year.
While we have seen significant growth, safety remains our number one priority along with providing a positive, FUN and supportive environment in which our athletes can successfully participate and our coaches and referees can thrive in.
Sportsmanship and Honoring the Game are key elements of our culture. We ask our players and parents to Honor the Game through ROOTS, showing respect for the Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and one's Self. At the same time, we ask our coaches to committ to principles of the Positive Coaching Alliance and the Double-Goal Cocah, who strives to win (one goal), while pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports.