High School (U16 & U18)

Welcome to the Santa Monica Rugby Club
High School Program U16 & U18

“Grateful for Everything, Entitled to Nothing.”

About Our Club

The phrase above encapsulates what our club is about, both on and off the field.  The club, known as the Dolphins, has a long and distinguished history at the men’s, women’s and youth level, including a #3 finish in the High School Nationals back in the 2000s.  The high school rugby landscape has evolved tremendously in the time since, and Southern California is a hot spot of great players and clubs.  We compete in the top competition in the region at both U16 and U18 levels, as part of SCYR (Southern California Youth Rugby) Gold League, where we face great opposition every week.

The 2023 Season Is Coming!

Our pre-season starts in February 2023, with twice weekly training sessions and occasional weekend clinics.  We will be holding a 2-day training camp in February at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, where we will live, train and eat with local teams, and receive some coaching from members of the US Men’s 7s team.  We also complete annually in the Dennis Storer Classic, held at UCLA, in January.

On the Road – Touring Rugby

We have re-introduced touring rugby back into our high school program, with trips to Phoenix, AZ (vs Red Mountain) in 2019, and Austin, TX (vs. Lake Travis HS & Westlake HS) in 2020. We have also hosted teams from other parts of the country, including St. Edward’s HS from Lakewood, OH. Last season, in early March 2022, the club toured Washington, DC to play Georgetown Prep and Gonzaga Prep, the two top high school programs in the area.

This season we will return to Phoenix, AZ.  We will play games vs Red Mountain and Tempe.  We will also have team building and fun non-rugby activities while there, taking advantage of what the city has to offer.

Our Players

The team is based in Santa Monica, but our players come from all around Los Angeles – we have built relationships with several high schools in the area, including View Park HS/ICEF Rugby, Compton Centennial HS, Santa Monica HS, Loyola HS, Redondo Union HS and Palisades Charter HS, who in turn provide the bulk of our players.  As a result of this outreach, we have strengthened the club in so many ways, and we attract a diverse and talented group of players every year.  Several of our alumni have played or are currently playing Division 1 college rugby, and we have had 3 players represent the Southern California Griffins select side at U20 level.  This past season we had 3 former youth players play for our D1 men’s team at nationals in Atlanta.

Dolphin High School Rugby – Our Program

One of the core parts of our program is provide an opportunity to learn and play high-level rugby in a positive and supportive environment, and to provide this opportunity to every student-athlete who has the desire, regardless of their family financial status.  As such, we provide partial and full scholarships for several players every season, which covers dues, playing kit, travel expenses, and even safe rides to and from training and matches via shared ride services.

We have a full coaching staff, with forwards, backs and defense coaches.  All of our coaches are certified by USA Rugby and have been in the high school program with me for several years.  We offer a challenging but always positive and player-focused rugby environment. We teach basic rugby skills as well as the concepts and systems that our players will need at the next level of rugby, be it college, club or professional.  As such, we maintain relationships with the UCLA and USC rugby programs, as well as the LA Giltinis MLR team.

We are committed to getting the most out of you as a player and providing you opportunities to get the most out of your rugby career.

All the best,

John Ruud, U18 Head Coach

Diane Watanabe, U18 Asst Coach – Backs & Certified Athletic Trainer

Daniel Beattie, U18 Asst Coach – Forwards

Marni Vath, U18 Asst Coach – Defense & Forwards

Brian O’Rourke, U16 Coach

Bradley Palmer, U16 Coach

Aaron Blatt, U16 Coach

Steve Bagnara, U16 Coach