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Monroe College to Launch Women's Rugby Program

BRONX, NY – Monroe College, a national leader in educating urban and international students, has announced that it will launch a women's rugby program to start in the Fall 2017 semester.

Phaidra Knight, a well-known and respected U.S. Rugby “Player of the Decade” honoree, was named women's coach. She will work with James English, director of Rugby at the college, to build the program.

The women's program follows the successful launch of the men’s rugby program last year. It will provide female student-athletes the opportunity to play competitively at the collegiate level, playing traditional "fifteens" in the fall semester — meaning 15 players per team on the field at a time — and the faster-paced "sevens" tournament-style format during the winter and early spring. The women’s program will run parallel to Monroe's men’s program and compete in the NSCRO Tri-State Conference, which currently boasts 19 women's collegiate rugby programs.

Coaches English and Knight are currently recruiting current and potential “crossover” players of varying rugby experience and skills to join the women’s team for play this fall.

“Consistent with the philosophy of our men’s rugby program launched last fall, our vision is to provide these incoming women players a positive, healthy environment with the full range of athletic resources and academic support required for student-athletes to truly thrive,” English says. “Phaidra Knight is a legend of the international game, with a wealth of experience playing and coaching. She is a fantastic role model for our women’s and men's programs, and we are delighted to welcome her to the Monroe Mustangs.”

Coach Knight played with the USA Women’s National Team since 1999, having competed in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Rugby World Cups. In 2002 and 2006, she was recognized as a World Cup All World Team/MVP for her position and, in 2010, was named the USA Rugby “Player of the Decade.” She is a member of the USA Rugby Congress and the Women’s Sports Foundation Athlete Advisory Board. She earned her undergraduate degree with honors from Alabama State University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

In addition to Coach Knight, the women’s rugby program will be supported by the coaching staff of the men’s program, who have a wealth of experience leading women’s teams. Coach English is currently head coach at Women's Premier League New York Rugby Club, which is ranked third in the country, and is the current USA Rugby Women's Collegiate All American attack coach. Additionally, Pro Rugby Ohio and Men's Coach Dylan Fawsitt helped build the Life University women’s program in Atlanta, GA.

With the introduction of a women’s rugby team, the Monroe Mustangs athletic program will run 18 teams across nine sports. Women’s rugby will be offered as a club sport, yet benefit from many of the same resources available to Monroe’s varsity programs.

About Monroe College
Founded in 1933, New York-based Monroe College is a nationally ranked private institution of higher learning with a real-world learning approach that prioritizes hands-on academic experiences, practical and relevant academic programs, flexible learning schedules, best-in-class instructional technologies, and committed and engaged faculty to ensure that students are well positioned for career success upon graduation. Monroe is among the leading higher education institutions in the country for graduating minority students.

Monroe College offers Certificate, Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs. It has campuses in the Bronx and New Rochelle, as well as in the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia, with programs offered through its Schools of Criminal Justice, Information Technology, Nursing, Education, Business & Accounting, Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, and Allied Health, as well as through its liberal arts and continuing education programs, and its King Graduate School. For more information and admissions criteria, please visit www.monroecollege.edu.

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