Carmel resident Shayla Meinders is working to form a girls club rugby team in Zionsville for high school students.
“The men’s team has been around for quite a few years now, and the big goal this year is to start a women’s team,” Meinders said.
Meinders, who will serve as the head coach, played club rugby while attending Purdue University. She was team captain during her final two years of college and coached rugby at Purdue and Carmel High School after graduation.
“I hadn’t been a head coach before Carmel, but we ended up taking that team to state and winning,” Meinders said. “The executive director for Indiana Rugby asked me to get involved with Zionsville, so now we’re starting to make the team happen.”
Meinders is hosting indoor preseason practices at Sports Zone Indy while trying to recruit team members. Five girls are currently on the club team.
“We are looking at recruiting and numbers and trying to keep everyone engaged and involved right now,” Meinders said. We want to get ahead of it and get our numbers as soon as possible so we can start teaching girls rugby.”
To form a team, Meinders said 15 girls need to be committed by Feb. 1.
“Our official season would start in mid-March,” Meinders said.” Usually, we start hitting the ground pretty heavily around spring break, and if we get the go-ahead to do that, we would be getting into the swing of things by the end of February.”
If the team does not have enough members, Meinders said the girls who are signed up will still play in small tournaments and exhibition games, and practices will run normally to help teach girls the game of rugby.
“I would still run everything that we’ve been doing, but I might have to find some tournaments around the state that we would have to go to rather than being in the Indiana Central Division 2 league,” Meinders said. “We want to get things rolling this year so that by next year we can push and start to grow. Once we get that established year, I think that’s where we’ll improve the most.”
The team practices every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. 6601 Coffman Rd. in Indianapolis. Anyone who is interested can contact [email protected] for more information.