Glendale Raptors Ready for Season Opener

As told by Raptors Head Coach Dave Williams

Coaches Blog, Glendale Rugby Date 4.5.18, the location – Glendale’s Infinity Park Training Facility

This week, we spent our energies preparing for our last preseason match in New York before our home opener against Austin on April 21. We have had a good pre-season, thus far, and have performed well in our first two preseason games against NOLA Gold and the Utah Warriors.

This now marks our 10th week of full-on training in 2018. We are constantly working on preparing the team each week and for each game. We like to focus on specific items for an overall improvement, and as coaches, we set the standards, but our players drive the standards. It is really nice to see the players always pushing for more constant and consistent improvement.

The regular season is fast approaching and I can say pretty confidently that all seven MLR teams are looking forward to what the season produces. The level of play, thus far, has been high and will only continue to improve as teams train and play together on a more regular basis. It has been great to watch all the teams play during the preseason. The talent the teams have already brought into this league is top-notch and will no doubt continue to grow as the league grows. We are very excited to see how we stack up against the best the U.S. has to offer, but first things first, we have to take it to NY and get a win there.

Coaches Blog, Glendale Rugby Date 4.09.18, location – Glendale’s HATC Meeting Room

Following a kind of messy win in NY, we are back in Glendale for our first team practice of the week. Our first item is to watch the video from Travers Island and decipher what worked well and what did not. For instance, after this match,     it’s become clear we need to clean up the ruck and tackle area, which always needs work. We also need to maintain our accuracy and physicality on the defensive side of the ball. But, aside from the regular trainings for our players, we also request that our full-time professional lads also spend some time giving back to the community and promoting our team to the Denver market.

Just this week, alone, we have several players headed to the Children’s Hospital Colorado to visit, hand out goodies and partake in some arts and crafts there. That same day, Rudi, our mascot, will make his way over to Boondocks in Parker for a big event for The Adoption Exchange, and then, on Thursday, our team will get to meet with kids from the Boys and Girls Club of the Metro Denver before practice.

We also are spending some time meeting with patrons of Sams No. 3 and Old Chicago, this weekend. Both are local restaurants which have long supported our club and it’s usually pretty beneficial to make appearances like these before our home matches, as Denver is a big sports town and there are a lot of options for families over the weekends. We want to stay in the forefront of our fans minds and introduce potential new fans to all the sport of rugby has to offer. In other efforts to do this, we plan to knock out several interviews on-air appearances with local television and radio stations in the upcoming week. And, finally our players are really excited for the opportunity to meet all of our new season ticket holders on April 15, which will no doubt prove to be a very fun and informative afternoon for both fans and players, alike.

With all of that said, it is a hugely exciting time for our club to be involved in Major League Rugby. The press and excitement has continued to gather momentum through the preseason and we are very excited that our first game is to be nationally televised on CBS.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to come watch one of our games, NOW is the time, for sure. We will have so much more built into this game-day experience than we’ve had in the past. For instance, the first 1000 fans in the door on April 21, will receive an inaugural MLR season rally towel. Also, there is a fan zone that will have rugby games, a mechanical ball ride, face painting, photo opportunities, plus food, drinks and more!

Although, for the team, we definitely want to walk away with another ‘W’, the most important part of this whole thing is to spread the love of rugby throughout Denver and show the Mile High City that the Raptors’ professional rugby team is here to stay!