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The Chicago Lions Rugby organization, established in 1964, will be fielding their first ever Women's Fifteens side this fall and compete in the Midwest Rugby Union and USA Rugby Division 2. While the Chicago Lions have fielded a highly competitive Women's 7's team since 2012 coached by Jeremy Nash, they have never assembled a fifteens team.
The Chicago Lions have been interested in expanding their women's rugby program for a few years and was hoping to merge with Chicago North Shore Women's Rugby. After a year of discussions between the two organizations, North Shore recently voted against the merger. "We were hoping to jump start our women's program with the North Shore merger since they are an elite club with many of their players part of our 7's program for years. We were disappointed but we respect their decision. Therefore, we must start our own program since women players have reached out to join us" According to Jeff Simon, President of the Lions.
"We are very excited to begin our women's fifteen program and build off of the success Jeremy Nash and the 7's team have had in developing players to reach their full potential. We welcome players of all abilities and experience to join us in what is a very exciting venture for this team at an exciting time for the club on and off the field. Incoming players can expect a high level coaching staff, great facilities, superb resources and professional structures” Dave Clancy, Chicago Lions Director of Rugby, said. The addition of women's 15's along with women's 7's, Men's 15's and 7's, and the recently started Chicago Lions Youth program will give the Lions a holistic organization to go along with the new facility they will have in the near future. Interested players can email Coach Clancy at [email protected].
The Chicago Lions are founding members of the Rugby Super League, have won 16 Mid-America Midwest Championships, have participated in over 8 National Club Championships and were National Club 7’s Champions in 2010.The Lions Women's 7's made the national championships 5 out of the past 6 years and will be competing in New York August 11-12 for a National Championship. A Pride of Lions has gone on to represent the United States as Eagle National Side players. The Lions also had the good fortune of having Paul McNaughton (IRE) and Kitch Christie (RSA) coach of 1995 RWC Champion Springboks as members. Former Club President Dick Smith and Bill Fraumann are members of the US Rugby Foundation Hall of Fame.
Chicago Lions Rugby is part of the CLCA (Chicago Lions Charitable Association) which is a 501(c)3 organization and in 2015, The CLCA partnered with Chicago Hope Academy to build the Lions for Hope Sports Complex, which will be a premier rugby centric facility, in the North Lawndale/East Garfield Park community. Chicago Hope Academy is an inner city Christian school catering predominantly to minority youths, which was started in 2005 by Bob Muzikowski, a former Columbia University and Old Blue NY flanker.
Once completed, the Lions for Hope Sports Complex will be recognized as a safe place for the community to gather through rugby and other organized field sports. We will expand life opportunities for the area youth and increase their social capital.
For more information, contact Jeff Simon at 847-921-0872 or email [email protected]