Categorized | Sports

Fort Macleod youths can try rugby at free camp

Sofia Hoff is a youth development officer for Rugby Alberta. She is hosting a free Try Rugby Day in Fort Macleod for children aged five to 12 years on Saturday, Aug. 10 beginning at 10 a.m. at the F.P. Walshe school field.

When Sofia Hoff was in elementary school she watched her older sisters Eden and Sienna play rugby with the F.P. Walshe Flyers and couldn’t wait to get involved in the sport.
Now the 18-year-old University of Lethbridge Pronghorn wants to share her passion for rugby with children aged five to 12 years in Fort Macleod.
Hoff, a youth development officer for Rugby Alberta, will host a free Try Rugby Day at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at the F.P. Walshe school field.
“The goal of Try Rugby Day is for kids to learn the fundamentals of the game, and see if they’re interested in playing it for their school team or club team when they’re of age,” Hoff explained. “We just want to have a fun day and try a new sport.”
Try Rugby Day will include warm-up games, learning how to pass and score and basic agility games.
Following a lunch break, participants will play flag rugby games.
“Anyone is welcome to Try Rugby Day,” Hoff said. “Even if you have tried rugby before, we’d love to have you. All abilities and experience levels are encouraged. Boys and girls are both welcome.”
“The only thing you need to know about rugby is that it is for everyone. There is a position on the field for everyone with different abilities. You need to know that rugby is a very welcoming and accepting sport.”
Rugby was not offered at Willow Creek Composite high school in Claresholm, where the Hoff family lives.
The older Hoff sisters, Eden and Sienna, commuted to Fort Macleod to play for the Flyers under head coach Andrew Walmsley.
Sofia was soon caught up in her sisters’ love for rugby and joined the Flyers in Grade 6.
“What made me want to play rugby, and made it worth the drive, was the inclusiveness that the sport has,” said Hoff, who played eight man for the Flyers. “There is a place for every single body type, skill, and ability. No one is left out in the game of rugby. Another thing that made the drive worth it is all the friends you make along the way.”
“There is usually at least 25 people on the team with you, and it’s hard not to become good friends while playing such a fun game together. I’ve made some of my best friends from the sport. The sport has definitely benefited the social aspect of my life.”
Following Grade 12 graduation Hoff joined the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns and the Lethbridge Rugby Club, where she plays different positions in the back line.
Hoff enters her second year at university this fall where she is studying kinesiology and psychology Education with hopes of becoming an elementary school or gym teacher.
As a youth development officer, Hoff wants more young people to share her enthusiasm for rugby
Hoff said Try Rugby Day is a good place to start because it is non-contact with no pressure which makes the game less intimidating.
“They can focus more on their skills,” Hoff said. “It’s a great way to get used to the game and learn all the skills and rules before they grow up and play a full contact game.”
Hoff said parents shouldn’t be deterred from letting their children participate by the rough and tumble, physical nature of rugby.
“Starting young at a non-contact rugby can better prepare them for when they get older and it does become contact,” Hoff said. “With no contact at Try Rugby Day, we can focus more on their skills and having fun.”
To register and for more information about Fort Macleod Try Rugby Day e-mail

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