Barber Named Seawolves Director of Youth and Community Development, Primed to Accelerate Growth of the Game in Pacific Northwest

09-Jul-2021

TUKWILA, WASHINGTON (JULY 9, 2021) – The Seattle Seawolves are excited to announce a new role within the Club that will be filled by Penn State alumni and former Atavus Rugby youth manager and coach, Lauren Barber.

Barber started her own rugby career in Noblesville, Indiana with the Noblesville Chaos as a freshman in high school. While balancing other sports, she inevitably thrived in rugby and was recruited to play at Penn State University. Barber helped the Nittany Lions win four National titles and was involved in the USA age-grade programs during her five years there. After graduation, Barber moved to Seattle after landing an intern role for Atavus Rugby focusing on their youth programming and continuing to play rugby with Seattle Rugby Club. She quickly grew within her role to manage all greater Seattle youth activation, including Parks & Recreation, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, and school partnerships. Barber grew as a coach through local opportunities but also in programs executed in other states and in Bermuda.

She expanded her coaching to a team setting in 2018 with the Girls Washington Loggers, the state select side, and is currently their head coach. During the 2019 Major League Rugby season, Barber was tapped to manage, promote, and develop programming for the Seawolves’ Run with the Pack pre-match youth rugby activations. Most of the participants were new to rugby and each event averaged about 40% female participation. In 2020, the first youth event was cancelled due to an abundance of caution ahead of the final MLR match of the Seawolves season. During her time physically away from the pitch, Barber was appointed vice chair of the youth state-based governing body, Rugby Washington, and was hired as a USA Rugby Eagle Scout for Washington U18 girls. Her key stakeholder relationships and experience with the end-to-end pathway for the domestic game will allow her to continue help local players develop, all while recruiting new athletes to the sport in partnership with general manager Pate Tuilevuka and the Seattle Seawolves.

“Lauren’s hire made a lot of sense to us as an organization as we continue to grow this aspect of the Club,” said Tuilevuka. “She is an accomplished rugby player that is committed to the sport and our community.Her ability to help grow the game with her experience in all facets of youth rugby, passion to increase access, and holistic coach mindset made her the perfect candidate. She is bought into our vision and is a great person on and off the pitch.”

“I am excited to continue to introduce more families to rugby and all it has to offer through the Seawolves,” said Barber. “Being involved in rugby as a player, coach, and admin has shown me that the opportunities this game has to offer is limitless. It’s incredibly rewarding to give back to the next generation and our community in this role.”

The Seattle Seawolves’ Run with the Pack pre-match youth activation returns to Starfire Stadium for the first time since 2019 this Sunday, July 11 from 3:30-4:45 PM PT. Presented by Westfield Southcenter, Seattle Seawolves’ Run with the Pack program allows youth participants (14 & under) to play and learn rugby from Seawolves players while raising money for local rugby non-profits. Sunday’s session is by donation, $20 per participant, and all proceeds will be donated to Rugby Washington. Each participant will receive a free (1) t-shirt and (1) Seattle vs NOLA match ticket. Register for this Sunday’s Run with the Pack here.

The Seattle Seawolves (2-12) host NOLA Gold (9-4-1) for the first time since April 21, 2019, at Starfire Stadium. Fresh off NOLA’s upset over the LA Giltinis, the Seawolves look to return the favor with an upset of their own in front of restriction-less crowd as Washington state opened back up June 30. Tickets may be purchased here.