Weston is Home to America’s Fastest-Growing Rugby Football Club


ugby Football has a rough and tough reputation. While this reputation is undoubtedly deserved, the sport, when played properly, places a much higher priority on teamwork and discipline. Given this fact, it is no wonder that Weston is home to the Okapi Wanderers Rugby Football Club: the fastest-growing club in the entire country.

Rugby originated over 150 years ago in England. The objective of the sport is to obtain more points than the opposition through scoring tries or kicking goals over a fixed period of playing time. Players score tries by carrying the ball up the field. The opposing team can stop the movement of the ball into their territory by tackling the ball carrier. Unlike American Football, however, players are not allowed to block other players or tackle players without the ball.

One of the unique aspects of Rugby is the culture that goes along with the sport. Opposing teams have “socials” after every match where comradery is celebrated, regardless of the outcome. The Okapi Wanders believe this aspect of the game helps them instill rugby’s core values: integrity, respect, solidarity, passion, and discipline.

The club was founded just five years ago and is already the 12th largest program in the nation. They have teams for players as young as six all the way up to their Old Boys team with players as old as 60! Youth teams are structure by age and skill level. No experience is required to join the club. There are more than 20 qualified coaches helping players maximize their potential. 

One common concern many parents have when evaluating sports for their children is the potential injury risk. We asked Maria Vanegas, who heads up communications and recruitment for the club, about this. 

“All contact sports carry some. At Okapi Wanderers RFC we focus on safety above all,” Vanegas commented, “Our coaches are either former or currents players and are all trained USA Rugby coaches. When taught the correct technique, the risk of injury is significantly minimized. In fact, even NFL teams have noticed the benefits of utilizing the rugby-style tackle. The Seattle Seahawks hired a rugby coach to teach their players how to tackle properly.” 

The club plans to capitalize on its recent success and to keep growing the game in South Florida. They have recently added an all-star team called the Florida Jaguars and are looking forward to launching girls and women’s teams in the near future. 

For information on how to join the Okapi Wanders Rugby Football Club visit www.okapiwandersrugby.com or call 954-870-4241.