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Coach of the Month: Carolyn Roach

This month, we hear from 2022 15 Under 30 awardee, Carolyn Roach. Speaking of 15 Under 30... nominations are now open for our 2023 award! Know someone who, like Carolyn, is doing great work in our community? Nominate them HERE.


Now, back to C!

Name:

Carolyn “C” Roach


Where do you live:

Fairfield County, CT


Occupation:

Program Director - Bridgeport, CT, for a nonprofit called buildOn


Tell us a bit about your playing days (Where, how long, positions, etc.):

I first picked up a rugby ball about 10 years ago at my alma mater, Springfield College, in 2013. After Springfield, I played with New York Rugby Club WPL + D1, Connecticut Selects, ROOTS Rugby Club, and now New Haven Old Black Women’s+ RFC. I’ve played many positions on the pitch – second row, flanker, 8-man, inside and outside center, and wing – but my favorite is 8-man!

How did you get into coaching?

I was encouraged to get my coaching certification by my mentor, Christopher St. Onge. He saw my love and dedication for the sport and my passion for uplifting women and girls. By coaching, I was able to make a positive impact on the development of strong character, grit, and

athleticism for female rugby players – unlocking new opportunities for their growth, healing, and joy.


Tell us about the teams you've coached:

Obtaining my coaching certification helped me to see the game from a different perspective and enhanced my rugby IQ. I started my coaching career at Springfield College, where I was the Team Captain and Assistant Coach. I then went on to be the Backs Coach at Mount Holyoke

College and Smith College, then Assistant Coach at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School,

before rounding out my time in Massachusetts as the Head Coach at UMass Amherst.

Currently, I am the Associate Head Coach for Aspetuck Girls Rugby Club in Newtown, CT,

where we finished the season as the Connecticut State Champions, Elite Girls Rugby League

Champions, and 5th in the nation at the 2023 National Girls Club Rugby Championships. Now, Aspetuck is currently ranked #8 in the U.S. Girls High School Ranking for the 22-23 season.


What do you like most about coaching?

I enjoy witnessing the development and the growth of players, seeing what the players learn

from practices and implement in the games. It is a blessing to be a part of their rugby journeys and to watch their confidence build every time they complete their individual and team goals.


What's been the most surprising to you about the evolution of women's rugby in the past few years?

One thing that surprises me is that there are new organizations and initiatives being created to expand funding for women’s rugby and grow the sport at a more rapid pace. It’s inspiring to see the increase in attention that the sport is getting, and I hope that this upward trajectory continues for as long as possible.


What do you think coaches most need in terms of support?

Women coaches deserve more support in leading girls' and women’s teams. Too often, female coaches are sidelined, overlooked, and underpaid. If we want to grow women’s rugby, it’s important that we start with the women capable of leading strong, successful teams. Coaches, especially Black, Indigenous, and female coaches of color, deserve robust financial support, better equipment, and media attention so that we can get our players the collegiate scholarships and professional playing opportunities that they deserve.


Tell us about your 'non-rugby' life:

I enjoy spending time with my beautiful partner, Jasmine, and our dog, Zero.




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