GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Green Bay Youth Rugby Program, which includes Youth Flag (K-8), Middle School Tackle for boys and girls (6-8), and High School Tackle for boys and girls, was named Program of the Year by Wisconsin Youth Rugby.

The award was announced at The Rugby Summit in Oshkosh which is an event with speakers and presenters aiming to improve rugby in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

“It was a really good feeling,” Coach Gail Rose told Local 5 News. “It’s a realization of all the time and effort you put in and all the stresses to make sure the program is going well.”

The Green Bay Youth Rugby Program was formed in 2013 by several members of the Green Bay Rugby Football Club as a non-profit organization. The goal is to teach the community the sport of rugby to a new generation.

“It’s really just a family,” says player Cecelia Rose. “you really feel bonded with all your players. I have friends on this team I’ve known forever.”

In addition to receiving the award, JJ Rose was also named Coach of the Year for his work with the Green Bay Leprechauns, the Division I high school boys team that has players from Green Bay, Ashwaubenon, Howard, and Denmark.

Rose coached his team to state champions by winning the Sevens Championship at the Badgers Sevens tournament in July 2021 and the Fifteens Division I State Championship.

“Obviously we’d like to go back to state,” Coach Rose said at their first outdoor practice Monday. “That’s one of our goals. Hopefully, we can do that. From there we’ll see. I’d like to take the kids on tour.”

Those weren’t the only two awards given to the program. Matt Goetsch, a founding coach and Executive Director of Green Bay Youth Rugby took home the President’s Award for his dedication and hard work to the community.

“It’s the granddaddy of football,” added coach Jay Milward. “Before there was a forward pass Rugby was the sport. It was all backward, it was all running.”

To learn more about the Green Bay Youth Rugby program, click here.