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Professional Rugby Team Finds a Home in Maryland

Old Glory DC RFC members express appreciation for rugby after a recent draw with the Chicago Hounds.

Old Glory DC RFC and the Chicago Hounds on the rugby field. (Branson Brooks/The Hilltop)

Old Glory DC RFC, a professional rugby union team based in the Washington, D.C. area, allows fans to watch a sport they may not see played as often in the United States, especially at the professional level. 

They began playing in their new home venue at Maryland Soccerplex, located in Montgomery County, when they matched up against the Chicago Hounds on March 16.

Chris Dunleavy, the team owner, said the team first played in 2019 at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and they found a new home in Maryland after going through a couple of stops.

“We have been very interested in the Maryland soccerplex for a while,” he said. “It’s a really nice environment for rugby due to the way that the venue is small, but has nice spaces like the grassy berms where people can sit and watch. It’s a really pleasant place to watch rugby.”

During the match, players who were ruled out for the game would spread out amongst the crowd to assist fans with questions about the sport.

Amongst these players was Kevin Brou, who recently signed for the 2024 Major League Rugby season after earning seven caps for the Ivory Coast national football team nicknamed “the elephants.”

Brou graduated from the University of Memphis after playing football and left the U.S. when he was 21 to reunite with his mother in the Ivory Coast. He then found rugby, which, he says, set his career on an unexpected trajectory.

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“Rugby has opened a lot of doors, especially culturally,” Brou said. I’ve experienced new things, new cities, new cultures. I learned a new language, a lot of things that came through rugby. I’ve met new people, big stars, and I’ve had experiences that I’ll be able to tell my kids about in the future later down the line.”

The match was close — Old Glory would score the first try of the game at 17-19, but from then on, it played out as a back-and-forth game. 

Old Glory DC RFC teammates getting into position. (Photo courtesy of Old Glory DC)

Alex Muller, who played on the wing for Old Glory, scored two tries in his first game back from suspension.

The match would end in a draw, with a score of 22-22. Muller credited preparation before the game and the audience’s support for the team’s performance.

“The team and I have had a great preseason, it was my first game today coming out of suspension from last season so I had a positive mentality,” Muller said. “I knew I was fit enough to play. I just needed my first contact to be in. Then it was good from there. So I’m definitely excited. It’s good to have my family friends here, and I think it’s very positive for us.”

Old Glory DC RFC will play a total of 16 regular season round-robin matches, which occur on Saturdays. The team’s next match is against San Diego Legion on March 23.

Copy edited by Jalyn Lovelady

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