It all began with the passion of two boys playing rugby on the Coastal Dragons club team in Encinitas. Then, sophomores Kevin Loney and Gavin Dill invited Caleb Armendariz to join their club team. Soon, the three guys became starters for the best team in Southern California. All three boys attend Santa Fe Christian (SFC) and wanted to play more rugby before their club team started in March. With the support of their parents, SFC and the boys started SFC’s Eagles Rugby club team last winter, and it is making quite a name for itself already. The SFC eNews staff met up with team manager Steve Armendariz to find out more about Eagles Rugby.

What is your vision for the team of boys?  

I love coach Bickley’s vision statement for all SFC athletics: be a champion for Christ, in our relationships and on the field. Our specific rugby motto is Domino Optimo Maximo. Domino: all for God’s glory; Optimo: we will do our best to be the best; and Maximo: with all of our heart and strength.  

What are your goals for the Eagles?  

Rugby is considered the fastest growing sport in America. I would like to see more students be exposed to the game and participate; offering students at SFC a chance to play a sport that is growing in popularity, offers great conditioning, great sportsmanship, and great fun! With the support of the school and adding more athletes, the Eagles will be able to play in the 15’s division giving us a strong future competing with the best schools in the country.

What does rugby teach?

Rugby teaches the importance of respect, communication, and teamwork. It has a unique culture; there are things that take place that you never see in other sports. For instance, teams that just played against each other will share meals together after a game. Other interesting rituals are cheering for the referee and the opposing team votes for the MVP.

Who are the coaches for the Eagles?

We are totally blessed with world-class coaching. If you Google the names Matt Hawkins (former American rugby union player and former coach of the US 7’s team) and Kevin Dalzell (former US national team player), you will see these guys have competed and coached at the highest levels in rugby.

What about the players?

We have a few players with great rugby experience and others that have never played before and they are all working hard. The boys that are playing are football players, mostly seniors, a junior and two freshmen. When asking one of the seasoned players why he plays rugby, Kevin Loney gleams, “It’s been said rugby is a barbaric sport played by gentlemen. I love the culture, opportunities and lasting friendships made. You can’t play rugby and not love the guy next to you.”

Don’t miss the excitement of a rugby match when the undefeated, 6-0 Eagles will host Kearney, Murrieta, and LCC on January 21. The first game starts at 9 am.