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Major League Rugby Appoints Director of Youth Development


San Diego Legion is pleased to share that our very own Chief Operations Officer Guy Hagen has been appointed as Director of Youth Development by Major League Rugby. 

This is another important step for MLR in growing rugby in the U.S. More details are available below... 

Guy Hagen headshot

DALLAS (October 28, 2020) – In another important step for grassroots rugby growth, MLR has appointed Guy Hagen as Director of Youth Development. Hagen currently is the Executive Director of the Legion Community Foundation and the Chief Operations Officer for San Diego Legion. A former rugby player since 1990, Hagen previously served as a Youth Rugby Coach for 12 years and Youth Club Administrator for eight years. 

Hagen is working with teams across MLR, as well as with USA Youth and High School Rugby, the State Governing Bodies (SGBs) and other community organizations, to strengthen the youth development pathways in the U.S. and Canada.

In coordinating efforts with the SGBs, Hagen plans to get flag rugby into the PE curriculum of 10,000 elementary and middle schools in the U.S. within the next three years. Additionally, discussions are underway to have flag rugby leagues created in the U.S. and Canada to allow an easy entry-point for kids to begin playing rugby at a young age.

“This new position signals a significant step in building rugby programs that will attract more fans to the sport,” said Hagen. “There are a lot of people around the U.S. and Canada that have put a lot of time and energy into growing the game. In my new role, I plan to connect them together and leverage the support of MLR, while also creating more pathways for the next generation of rugby players.”

Along with the new Director of Youth Development position, MLR has created Grassroots Development Incentives that encourage MLR teams to develop and promote rugby participation in their respective markets in return for additional salary cap and/or player protections. The incentives are as follows:

  1. Youth Development: to grow participation for children (boys and girls) under the age of 14 in the team’s market. Additional salary cap to be awarded based on number of participants.
  2. High School Academy Team: to form a high school academy team for players aged 15-18 with a focus on an organized training environment and competitive games.
  3. Developmental Academy Team: to form a developmental academy team to act as a feeder to the respective MLR team with a focus on an organized training environment and competitive games. 
  4. Homegrown Player Designation: the ability for a team to protect a player from MLR player allocation process (such as the Collegiate Draft) by developing said player through the team’s High School or Developmental Academy Teams.

Learn more about MLR teams’ youth programs, Grassroots Development Incentives, and the 2021 Salary Incentive Options, linked here.

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About Major League Rugby
Major League Rugby is a professional sports league entering its fourth season and represents the highest level of rugby competition in North America. The League evolved from seven teams in 2018, to 13 teams in 2021, featuring 12 from the United States and one from Canada. Matches are televised on CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports 2, and ESPN+, among other national and local market platforms. All matches are available on Facebook Live for international fans. MLR prides itself in fostering intense and high-stakes competition, while bringing together a passionate community built on the values of Respect, Inclusivity, and Tradition. For more information about MLR, visit MajorLeague.Rugby


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