Glendale, CO – The Glendale Raptors rugby organization announces the Raptor Rugby Academy, a program designed for boys in grades 8 through 12 who desire to become elite rugby players. The Academy is designed to be an elite rugby program that serves as the entrance point for Colorado High School boys to enter the US elite player pathway. The program will focus on strength and conditioning, nutrition, technical education, tactics, skills, and team play. Experienced coaches will provide professional advice and guidance to encourage players to achieve their potential both on and off the field.
The Raptor Rugby Academy will be held at Infinity Park on the second and fourth Sundays of the month from September through November, 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm, and will conclude with an all-day camp on December 3 and 4. Practices will consist of film work, on-field and classroom sessions.
The Academy will utilize Infinity Park’s regulation-size pitch and High Altitude Training Center (HATC), a first-of-its-kind facility in North America opened by the City of Glendale in March 2011. The HATC’s strength and conditioning equipment accommodates specialized training for sports teams and high performing athletes.
Academy players will enter competitive play as Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union’s (ERRFU) representatives in Spring 2012, fielding a developmental team as well as an elite team. The Elite side of the Academy will be competing for the national championship as the ERRFU representative in the Western regional playoffs. The Elite side is also planning a tour to Canada in the spring. Spring practice begins in January.
The Raptor Rugby Academy will be led by members of the Raptor coaching staff and Raptor players, including:
Mark Bullock, Director of Rugby for the Glendale Raptors & Raptor Head Coach
A former high school teacher, administrator and coach, Bullock has been involved in rugby for 30 years. He was the original coach of the US U19 squad from 1991 to 2001, a national coaching instructor and past representative coach for Western Rugby Union (WRU), the ERRFU and the Pacific Northwest Rugby Football Union (PNRFU). Bullock led the Glendale Raptors Division one team to a National Championship in 2011.
Andre Snyman, Glendale Raptors Sevens Coach
South African rugby star Andre Snyman coaches the new Raptors Sevens team. For ten years, Snyman played for the South African Springboks and he represented South Africa at the International Rugby Board’s Sevens Rugby World Cup in Hong Kong in 1997. Snyman also played in England and France, where he participated in coaching clinics. Since retiring as a player in 2007, he stayed active in the rugby community in South Africa, coaching youth rugby in townships, schools and clubs, including the Varsity College Old Boys in his hometown of Durban. Snyman has been named to lead the West Men’s 7s All-Stars, who will compete in the National All-Star 7s Championships in Chula Vista, CA on August 27 and 28.
Jared Heath, Glendale Raptors
Jared played both football and rugby at Highlands Ranch High School, winning one state rugby title. He went on to play college football at Colorado School of Mines and returned to rugby after graduation. He has been a Raptor head coach for three years and was selected to coach one of the All State teams as well as the select-side team in 2010.
Casey Rock, Glendale Raptor
Casey Rock is a converted soccer player currently playing lock for the Glendale Raptors. He played in New Zealand and for the West All Stars, and he was selected as a Collegiate All-American. Rock was a member of the National Championship team in 2011.
Josh Schmitz, Glendale Raptor
Schmitz started playing rugby as an eighth grader and was selected every year to play in the high school all state game. He played for the national champion Eastern Rockies Football Union team for five years, starting at scrumhalf. He played 7s in Samoa before joining University of Wyoming’s rugby team and the West All Stars. Schmitz has been a Raptor for five years. He was selected to coach an all state team and a select-side team in 2010. He was member of the National Championship team in 2011.
Dewon Reed, Glendale Raptor
Glendale Raptor Dewon Reed was named a 7s and 15s finals MVP and he was a member of the National Championship team in 2011.
Raptor Rugby Academy coaches will measure the success of the Academy by the number of U17s and U19s selected to attend next level camps, the number of U17s and U19s selected to play for the US, and the success of Academy teams in spring tournaments. This past season, two Raptor Rugby Academy players were selected to go to the USA selection camp in the spring. One player, Josh Brake, was selected to play for the US; he was the starting center for the US 7s in Canada.
“The Raptor Rugby Academy will expose young Colorado athletes to high performance standards and prepare them to become future Eagles and Olympians,” said Luke Gross, USA Rugby Specialty Coach and U20 All-American Forwards Coach. “It’s important for young athletes to realize that rugby is a legitimate, high-level sport that can lead to representing your country in the Olympics or Rugby World Cup.”
“This program will provide a high performance rugby environment due to Glendale’s world-class facilities, coaching and emphasis on player development,” said David Williams, USA Eagles Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
The cost for the Fall Season of the Raptor Rugby Academy is $75, which includes gear, training log and all expenses for the fall Academy sessions. The first day of the academy is Sunday, September 11 at 2:00 PM. To sign-up or for more information email