Colorado Rugby Team - About The Glendale Raptors

This is #RaptorsLife.

Major League Rugby. Major League Raptors.

The Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club is a Colorado-based professional rugby team. The Raptors began play in 2007, and in 2018 they became founding members of Major League Rugby—the nation’s premier rugby league, which is expanding to nine teams in 2019.

The story of the Raptors began with a vision that the rugby tradition could flourish in Colorado’s active, teamwork-driven culture. On this conviction, Infinity Park was built in Glendale, Colorado—a small town in the heart of the Denver metro area. It was the first rugby-specific stadium built in the United States. From the onset, the stadium was intended to become a hub of the community. With an emphasis on family-friendly prices and youth-oriented programs, rugby’s model for success stood out from other professional sports.

The vision for the Raptors included not only Colorado, but also the entire country. Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, but its footprint in the United States a decade ago was still small. With a rugby-specific stadium and the backing of a community, the Raptors had the opportunity to create a template for rugby success that teams elsewhere could emulate. By hosting regular season play and tournaments throughout the year, visiting teams could see what was possible in their own hometowns. They see the facilities, the fans, and the array of businesses that all contribute to support the team.

In its first decade, the Raptors fastened multiple championship banners to the wall overlooking the pitch in Infinity Park. In its second decade, the team begins professional play, which will continue to stitch together the nation’s various local and regional pockets of rugby fandom into a true national network of players, organizations, and fans. The Glendale Merlins amateur and developmental teams are an integral part to the rugby vision, too. The Merlins provide a place for scores of athletes to play the sport they love, and the opportunity for some to develop into professional players.

The Rugby Pathway

The array of programming and play offered at Infinity Park casts a wide net. The vision is bigger than hosting games for a single premier team. The goal has always been to create and nurture a thriving rugby culture in Glendale, throughout Colorado, and across the country. As part of this vision, the Raptors have developed comprehensive programming to bring the sport to the next generation of players and fans—a “rugby pathway” on which children of any age can learn and grow. The Glendale Youth Rugby program teaches rugby basics to children as young as 5 and up through high school. The sport’s ethos of teamwork, diversity, community, and respect have attracted families looking for a positive, safe environment in which children can learn and grow. At the far end of this pathway, one finds the Rugby Raptors Academy—an exclusive training ground for the nation’s best players under 23. The academy gives young players access to top coaches and competitive play so they can hone their skills in hopes of playing professionally.

The Rugby Culture - Raptors in the Community

In response to the support they have received throughout their time in Glendale, the Raptors have become contributing members of the community themselves. Players routinely volunteer for organizations such as Kids Running America, the Special Olympics, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the Colfax Marathon, among others. Since the club’s founding, players and coaches have fostered a special relationship with Colorado Children’s Hospital, with multiple club members returning year after year to spend time with patients and their families. Players also share their knowledge with the next generation, serving as coaches and instructors at numerous free rugby clinics for Denver area youth and in the youth programming at Infinity Park.

Core Values

Ignite a Passion for Rugby

To ignite a passion for rugby in the United States, starting at the local level and growing to national recognition.

Promote Participation in Rugby

To promote participation in rugby: through youth and non-elite players, professionals, and fans.

Create New and Lasting Connections

To create new and lasting connections between teams and communities, and to foster existing relationships.

Celebrate Rugby Inclusivity

To celebrate diversity in participation, and embrace rugby’s inclusivity.

Team Accolades

2018 Major League Rugby Runners-Up
2016 Pacific Rugby Premiership Champions
2015 Pacific Rugby Premiership Champions
2014 Pacific Rugby Premiership Runners-Up
2011-2012 USA Rugby Division I Runners-Up
2010-2011 USA Rugby Division I Champions
2007-2008 USA Rugby Division I Runners-Up