WELCOME TO THE FLORIDA CUP FINALS TOURNAMENT
The Florida Cup Finals Tournament has four brackets of play, Senior Mens, College & Senior Women’s, Mens Old Boys/Social and High School Boys.
Saturday & Sunday November 7th & 8th
This years tournament will be held in beautiful Sarasota. The tournament will be held in partnership with the Visit Sarasota County, the Sarasota Rugby & Cricket Club, the FYRU and the FRU. We really excited to make this change from the old All Florida Day to Florida Cup Finals, we want provide every club in Florida the chance to test themselves prior to the beginning of the Spring Season.
Men’s Finals– With all 16 teams participating in various levels of the finals. On Sunday we will crowning 4 the Champions of the Florida Cup. Men’s Florida Cup Champions, Men’s Florida Plate Champions, Men’s Florida Bowl Champions & Men’s Florida Shield Champions. Each team is guaranteed two full 80 minute matches** over the two day of the tournament.
Women’s Florida Cup – Like Mens Florida Cup we will crowning multiple Champions in Women’s Florida Cup. Matches for women’s bracket will be 40 minutes, ideally we will be able to get each team two matches per day of the tournament.
High School Boy’s – The boys Florida Cup is a great chance for Florida booming talent base to perform at this wonderful tournament. Not to be out done by the Men’s Women’s brackets the High School boys will also be completing for a Florida Cup
Men’s Old Boy’s & B-sides – This year we excited to add Men’s Old Boy bracket. We have received lots of feedback that Florida’s active Old Boy network would love more opportunities to play each other. This tournament is the first many upcoming opportunities for them.
DIVISIONAL ENTRY FEES
Women’s Florida Cup – $200 – Click Here to register
High School Boy’s Florida Cup – $100 – Click Here to register
Mens B-side & Old Boys – $200 – Click Here to register
The FRU have teamed up with HBC Event Services to offer discounted hotel accommodations for this event. Please click here to book your discounted hotel rooms. We encourage all teams to use this service.
There are many reasons, of course, but I would like to touch on one in particular today and it will hopefully summarize the camaraderie of rugby throughout the world that drives the passion for the sport we love.
In 2003 England had a very good squad headed to the Cup, with the kicking of Jonny Wilkinson sure to propel them to the final. As we all know, that did happen and that is where the story begins.
A gentleman from jolly old England was in a bit of a conundrum. His girlfriend’s family was having a family reunion of historic proportions over in the colonies – more specifically the Ritz Carlton in Naples, FL – during the World Cup Finals! What’s a gent to do?
Well, in the world of 2003 that gent jumps on the world wide web and finds a person affiliated with the local rugby club, our own Naples Hammerheads. Mission accomplished when he locates our one and only Raelyn Barlow, who at that time was either President or VP of the men’s rugby club. It’s been some years and a few blows to the head, so you have to forgive my fuzziness on those details.
After contacting the lovely Ms. Raelyn he inquired where he might be able to watch said final if England was fortunate enough to appear. She told him that the English Pub in Naples would be his best option since they were the only place in SWFL showing rugby at that time. (We’ve come a long way baby!)
England did make the final and happily, the Naples Pub is only a few miles away from the Ritz Carlton. Only one issue. The match is at 4:00 AM and the English Pub will not be open at that time. This is where I enter the story. In a panic he calls Raelyn and asks if there is any other way to watch the game? She then tells him “Well, my friend Steve is having people over and I don’t think he would mind if you watch there.” He said “Great. What is the address I’ll grab a cab”.
Folks, in 2003 not only was there no Uber but there were also no cabs running at 3:30 AM in Naples FL. In fine rugby form Raelyn said “No worries! I’ll come pick you and your girlfriend up”. Which she promptly did at 3:30 AM and deposited him at my house, on my couch, next to an awesome Australian lad Blair Kirby who was also quite excited that his team was playing that morning. I do have to say that Blair was not quite as happy as the rest of us of having this gent around for the match.
So for the next 2 hours he and his girlfriend drank beers with us and cheered the fabulous rugby played in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He did not know a soul there and I did not talk to him before or since he walked out with a humongous smile on his face at 6:30 that morning. But, he was able to share a wonderful moment across the pond with people who loved rugby as much as he did, even though they might not have been around it as long. Raelyn, of course, then charioted them back to their hotel in fine rugby fashion.
So many things about that 24 hours that I will personally remember forever ( I didn’t even go into the special Comcast box I got that day, which caused a panic attack of historic proportions by refusing to work. Thank goodness another rugger by the name of Keith Warde drove 20 miles at 12 midnight to save the day!) But I do like to think that during the World Cup, or when someone asks him to tell one of his rugby stories, that this night, where it was all about the rugby – where the who, where and when didn’t matter – comes to his mind as it does mine.
Til next time folks. Keep on rucking,
This weekend rounds out the end of Florida Cup matches prior to the FL Cup Finals in Sarasota Nov 7 & 8 weekend (with the exception of Tridents v Daytona which is being rescheduled). Only three teams are 2-0 so far this season: Boca Raton, Naples, and Sarasota.
In Pool (A) Sarasota host Naples for the Battle of Gulf on for the #1 seed while Tampa and St. Pete vie for the #3 spot in what could be called the battle of the Bay.
In Pool (B) or the Northern Division it is still anyone’s game, with any combination of wins/losses yielding Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, or Tallahassee spot 1 through 4 (all teams are 1-1). We look set to have two equal on points at the end of the weekend. With the previous head to head results determining the seeding.
In Pool (C) the Beaches Division, it’s also still anyone’s game, with Boca, Brevard, and Palm Beach still all vying for the #1 spot (Brevard could be 1 with a win over Boca and PB loss to Miami. Boca could be #1 if they beat Brevard regardless of PB match. PB could be 1 with a win and a Boca loss). Boca holds all the cards at the moment with two dominate displays so far this pre-season.
In Pool (D) This David & Goliath Division still has the outstanding Tridents/Daytona match to be played, so it is still too tough to make any real predictions at this point, but Indian River still have a shot at the #3 spot with a win vs. Tridents. Tridents with a win can still take any spot 1 through 4.
Best of luck to all the clubs this weekend as we see the FL Cup competition revived to its previous competitive and community spirt within Florida Rugby community. We are really excited to see everyone join in us in Sarasota to Finals Tournament. Please do not forget to book your hotel this week. Hotel pricing and availability will change as we get closer to the event.
The Florida Cup will concluded with a two day tournament in Sarasota on November 7th & 8th at Parry Field, International Cricket Club, Lakewood Ranch. This tournament is mandatory for all 16 men’s teams in the Florida Cup. Hotel reservations can be made by clicking here. We be creating a tournament page which include entry forms for the other brackets at the tournament including: Old Boys, B-side, Women’s & High School.
The following email went out to club officers on file with the FRU –
Please take a look at the contact list below and confirm your club contacts are correct. We will be implementing the rain and emergency field closure policy this fall, part of this policy includes calling the president and match secretary on file with the union if you need to cancel. If this information is incorrect, please update it at using the link on this page by 9/27, do not reply to this email with your information. – http://floridarugbyunion.org/contacts/
Cam Dolan threw a 45-yard touchdown strike on his first play of freshman football at Palmetto Ridge High School. Eight games later, his team was undefeated and parents and friends told his father Terrey that Cam could end up playing for the Florida Gators.
Cam never played football again.
The Naples native whose sweet swing warranted neighborhood cheers and whose dominance with the puck made him one frightening 4-year-old in an eight-and-under roller hockey league went down a different path than most American kids.
He tried rugby.
While his father Terrey had no prior experience in the sport, he did play tennis while attending the University of South Florida and was a former nationally ranked high-jumper in high school. Given his athletic genes, Cam seemingly had all the physical tools to grow into an elite rugby player. After all, this is the kid whose elementary school PE teacher entered him into the Southwest Florida bracket of the Punt, Pass & Kick competition, which Cam won, of course.
As Terrey put it, “Cam basically came out of the womb growling and swinging.”
Though he probably could have been a great football player, Cam decided to take his athletic talents to the rugby pitch for Steve Young’s Naples Bears. Having already won four high-school club championships, Young was well-established as one of the best high school coaches in the state and Dolan became an instant sensation. Six weeks into his rugby career, he was called up to play for the national U-17 team.
Of course, the game was all new to Terrey, who literally went out and bought a copy of Rugby for Dummies in order to learn the ins and outs of his son’s new passion.
While playing for the U-17 team over in England, Cam’s play drew the attention of hundreds of spectators and even more colleges and universities.
“I had never even personally see him play a rugby game,” his father recalled. “When he got home from that tournament my phone was ringing off the hook from English schools wanting him to come play for them.”
Cam did end up playing in England during the fall of his senior year before returning to the U.S. to finish up high school. However, it didn’t take long before the rugby suitors started calling.
One of those schools was Life University, a private school located in Marietta, Ga. that’s produced several national team stars like Phil Thiel and AJ MacGinty. Cam earned a rare full-ride scholarship to the prestigious rugby powerhouse and went on to become a four-time All-American and national champion for the Running Eagles.
A versatile athlete who also made appearances for the U.S. National Sevens team back in 2011, Cam set his sights on becoming a staple of the U.S. Eagles, the national 15s team.
In only a few years since graduating from Life, Cam has gone from a Florida youth sport star to a bonafide professional rugby player. His size, speed and outstanding collegiate career helped him earn a contract with the renowned Northampton Saints, a professional rugby club based in England. Though Cam’s experience could have gone better, getting through adversity is nothing new. According to Terrey, Cam suffered two torn ACLs during his athletic career, but he’s surprisingly returned faster than ever after both injuries.
Following his stop in Northampton, Cam has since signed a contract with the Cardiff Blues, where he’s expected to earn more playing time while playing a system that’s better suited to his freakish athleticism.
All of the moving around the world has taken its toll on Cam’s family. Terrey, who works as the Director of Planning for Lennar Homes’ Southwest Florida Division, has only been able to see him play in person for a national side a handful of times. That doesn’t mean he’s any less of a fan, as his humble son often has to remind his dad to keep the cheerleading to a minimum.
Even with the pro contract and accolades that come with being a world-renowned athlete, representing his country and giving back to the community is something else entirely worthwhile for Cam.
“It’s not even how great of an athlete he’s fortunate enough to be,” his father said. “He can make friends with the devil’s meaner, older brother. He’s just a humble guy who doesn’t seek the spotlight.”
Avoiding the spotlight is a challenge for a guy who stands 6-foot-6, especially given his prominent spot on the Eagles. Capable of playing loose forward or second row, Cam has settled in as a lock forward for an Eagles team that suffered a critical loss at the spot when veteran Scott LaValla was ruled out for the 2015 Rugby World Cup due to an elbow injury.
While the Eagles face an uphill battle against a tough pool that includes South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and Japan, they have a ton of new blood that could help them score some upsets over in England.
“There may not be more professional players than the 2011 team, but the quality of the athletes overall has greatly increased,” said Terrey.
At the end of the day, whether the Eagles go 4-0 or 0-4, the fact that young home-grown stars like Cam Dolan, Seamus Kelly and Danny Barrett are coming into their own is a fantastic step in the right direction for the growth of rugby in the U.S. This generation of talent will only set the stage for future generations to come through the youth system like Cam, who has clearly made an impact on the youth around the world already.
“While he was with Northampton doing community service work I received personal text messages from parents of disabled kids thanking me for how my son went above and beyond speaking with their children,” Terrey said. “After that I said he would never have to play another minute of rugby for the rest of my life and I’ll be proud.”
Luckily for American rugby fans, we’ll get to see plenty of Cam donning the U.S. colors for a while.
The $40 early registration fee will be in effect for on-site registrants for the Summit Saturday to encourage our current coaches to take this opportunity for PDCs and to remain active.
Certified coaches are responsible for annually maintaining their active coaching status with USAR. Every team requires an active coach in order to be considered in compliance and compete in the FRU. Non-compliant teams will not be assigned referees. You can maintain “active” status by annually completing 10 Professional Development Credits (PDCs). The FRU has made this easy for its’ coaches by offering an annual Development Summit. On Saturday, we offer an afternoon session to acquire 10 PDCs, including information on Rugby Strength and Conditioning by Matt Mallard and Continuity of Play by Paul Vercoe from USA Rugby. These are the only PDCs we will be offering in Florida for the year, and is only the second year we have hosted this summit and offered PDC units through the FRU’s administration. On Sunday we offer Level 200 coach certification. Please see this page for more details and to register:
This is a reminder that certified coaches are responsible for annually maintaining their “active” coaching status. Every team requires an active coach in order to be considered in compliance and compete in the FRU. You can maintain “active” status by annually completing 10 Professional Development Credits (PDCs). The FRU has made this easy for its’ coaches by offering an annual Development Summit. On Saturday, we offer an afternoon session to acquire 10 PDCs, including information on Rugby Strength and Conditioning by Matt Mallard and Continuity of Play by Paul Vercoe from USA Rugby. This is the only PDCs we will be offering in Florida for the year, and is only the second year we have hosted this summit. On Sunday we offer Level 200 coach certification. Please see this page for more details and to register: