Rugby isn’t the most talked about sport in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, but that doesn’t keep a group of local women’s players from competing at the highest level.
Shreveport Women’s Rugby, also known as the Shreveport Valentines, officially formed a team in August 2017 although players had been practicing and growing the game in the area for at least a year before the official induction of the team under the Northwest Louisiana Rugby Foundation which includes a men’s team and high school teams. With a core group of 10-15 players and new players joining monthly, these women have proved their toughness, tenacity, and dedication to the growth of the sport for area women.
This commitment has paid off as two out of the three area players that went to USA Rugby South tryouts in New Orleans on January 13th were chosen to compete for a spot on the select traveling team for competitions throughout the spring. USA Rugby South hosted 4 tryout camps throughout the southeast during January looking for collegiate and senior level women’s players to select for this elite team looking to travel to competitions for 7s and 15s rugby throughout the country and to compete against international teams.
From Shreveport, Haley McCohn was chosen to compete in the St. Patrick’s Day Savannah Rugby 15s Tournament in March and U23 Life University Invitational 7s event in April. McCohn only picked up rugby last fall, but with an athletic background and unparalleled enthusiasm for the game, she has quickly gathered the skills and knowledge required to be chosen for an elite travel squad such as this.
Another Shreveport player, Jade Diggs was also chosen to compete in the Savannah 15s Tournament. Jade is a powerhouse forward with 6 years experience, having played at the Air Force Academy and honed her skills to become one of the toughest women on the pitch. More invitations are also yet to come as the USA Rugby South Panthers will compete throughout the spring and summer, culminating in a trip to Mexico for 10s competition.
Shreveport Women’s Rugby has been working hard to prepare for their spring season, which kicks off this weekend with the “Throw Me Something, Rugger!” Mardi Gras Tournament in New Orleans. This annual 15s tournament is host to competition from throughout the country, this year the farthest team is traveling from Minnesota. There are 8 teams in the women’s club bracket, 5 teams in the women’s college bracket and 5 teams in the men’s combined bracket.
Teams will compete all day Saturday, February 3rd, at LaSalle Park in Metairie, Louisiana. Eight Shreveport players are traveling to compete under the name of their affiliated 15s team, Louisiana Lagniappe Women’s Rugby. Louisiana Lagniappe is a team made up of women’s players from New Orleans, Baton Rouge and now, Shreveport.
Currently, the Shreveport Valentines compete under that name during summer 7s tournaments and during select games throughout the rest of the year. For matrix competition in the True South Rugby Union, they compete with Louisiana Lagniappe. Updates and results will be posted to the tournament Facebook page
Shreveport Women’s Rugby welcomes players of all ages and all levels to join. You can find out more information or contact them on their Facebook page or join them at practice, Tuesdays and Thursday, 6:30 PM at AC Steere Park. No experience is required and they are actively recruiting players to join throughout the year.