Women’s rugby club empowers SBCC students

After a 38-year absence, City College has brought back the women’s rugby team.

Coach Crystal Ho: “I created this team to empower women individually and collectively.”

Coach Crystal Ho has been working relentlessly for the past two years to get everything in place for Spring 2016. The team, which goes by the Mermaids, is beginner level and gives anyone the opportunity to join.

Sophia Pagan: “I love it. This is actually my first year ever playing rugby and all the girls have been super accepting. It’s a really awesome community; half the team is beginners, so it’s really nice to just come out here and be with a group of people who are all learning together. Nobody judges, which is nice because not a lot of us are that good yet. “

The women have been using a learn-as-you-go approach, with an emphasis on team spirit. What the players lack in experience they make up for with passion and tenacity. To these girls rugby isn’t just a sport, it’s an opportunity to empower women and form a family like bond.

Molly Yoon: “It’s fun having a team that’s also your family. But then after the games, with the other team, there’s no fighting. After the game everyone’s able to come together, party together, and hangout. So it’s not like other sports where the teams hate each other.”

A main goal since the beginning of the season has been to support each other on and off the field.

Sophia Pagan: “All the coaches are really awesome too… very very supportive. Like I said, everybody’s new. There’s literally not a day that I come out here that I don’t learn something.”

Elise Bonfiglio: “Our chemistry is very easy, we’re all loving and adapting people. It’s great.”

Sophia Pagan: “Everybody who wants to come play, they should come play.”

Practice is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at UCSB, and Mondays and Wednesdays at Eelings Park.