The Warthogs mark the completion of our 10th season with a victory lap – a dream has been realized. For 10 consecutive years, 100% of Warthog players have graduated from high school. This year, each Oakland Warthog graduate will go on to college.
Caught off guard. Early in the season, there were challenges that appeared insurmountable. Some players lost ground academically and others missed practices and games. The team lost momentum.
Thanks to our donors and volunteers, they stood back up. The boys were able to travel to the National Invitational Tournament in North Carolina to experience many firsts in their lives.
“It was a weekend that none of us will ever forget,” said team president, Ryan Burke. “We grew stronger and tighter as a team to win our last match of the tournament 34-19, to return home as winners.”
Oakland Warthogs joining forces with Play Rugby USA, the premier Rugby Based Youth Development program in the US. Featured in the New York Times, this highly respected program has grown to coach over 5,000 children and youth per year between New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Like the Warthogs, PRUSA is mission-driven working primarily with under-served children and youth using rugby as a vehicle to achieve long-term wellness and success.
The two were introduced to each other in 2011 and have partnered on local youth projects since that time. After expanding their San Francisco program into Oakland, Burke approached CEO Mark Griffin to discuss a possible partnership.
“It quickly became clear that collectively, we have the expertise, connections, and resources to be a force for change in Oakland. That was the inspiration we needed to formally join programs. We will now be known as the Oakland Warthogs Rugby Empowered by Play Rugby USA.”
Our shared vision of growing the program into an Academy that offers comprehensive youth opportunities in Oakland was now within reach.