This past year has been a momentous one for the Fox Valley Māori family, full off excitement and high expectations for the club on and off the field. Last year we came out of the Covid restrictions strong, once again dominating CARFU D3 and ending one game away from a repeat appearance in the Midwest Finals. This continued success saw the Midwest promote us to D2 over the winter, raising the level of expectations and challenge we would face in 2022.
However, before the Māori would test themselves in a higher domestic division, we first had an important return to international competition in our long awaited return overseas. Delayed repeatedly by Covid, the first tour in almost two decades descended on Ireland at the end of March, finding early success in a win against Coolmine RFC during the Dublin leg, though falling to 1-2 on the tour with losses to Creggs in Galway and Highfield in Cork. The tour left the team hungry to continue to test our mettle against other foreign sides, where will we go next in 2024? Spain, Argentina or Fiji have all been floated, stay tuned as we plan our next tour.
The spring season saw Fox Valley take on a variety of opponents and a lot of new members join the club. The season also saw its ups and downs on the pitch, but like the spring weather the team steadily improved and warmed into the season. The team finished with a big tournament championship win up in Wisconsin at Lennie’s 15s besting both the Milwaukee Barbarians (D1) and the Fox Cities Gargoyles (undefeated in D3 2022 conference play). Overall, the team would go 3-1 against D2 and D1 club in the spring.
Summer 7s saw the team continue to build on their success, undefeated in pool play for the season (12-0-1) and with two 2nd place finishes. The Māori were able to get on the podium in 2nd place in both our own home tournament, Try City 7s, and in Firehouse 7s in Lemont. In both cases we came up just short against our I-88 rivals – the Chicago Blaze. It was a fantastic summer of rugby, with a lot hard work on the pitch, and in the parking lot over the PLBs.
The beginning of the fall season would see Fox Valley take on a major challenge in moving up to D2, with games against Green Bay, Lincoln Park, South Side Irish, Milwaukee Rugby Club and the Milwaukee Barbarians. Although we did not get the results we would have hoped for during our first season in higher division, we certainly came away hungry to do better in 2023. The brightest spots in the Fall season came with the development of a number of new players, who by the end of the season were seeing considerable game time and improvement in play.
The fall might have been rough but looking forward to 2023 the future for Fox Valley still looks bright as a crop of young guns look to take the field in the spring. We look forward to a domestic trip to New Orleans in February and the excitement over the new professional team in Chicago.
Fox Valley Rugby, Head Coach
Fundraising: We are kicking off our year-end fundraising campaign. We work as hard as possible to keep the sport accessible to as many people as possible. However, rising costs affect all of us. Contributions go a long way in helping us accomplish our goals – both on and off the field.
We are appealing to you to consider one of two options. First is a one-time donation. Our primary focus during this campaign is to help fund a new enclosed trailer. Transporting gear to and from every practice takes its toll on our players, as well as the gear. It also limits some of the drills we can do at certain practices. This has been a top priority for several seasons, and we are hoping to raise $3,000 to make this happen this spring without asking for additional contributions from players
Second, we appeal to you to consider an affordable recurring donation. We have several options on our website, but we are also introducing something I dub as the “Netflix Plan.” For the same cost as a Netflix subscription ($16/month), your donation will be used to offset recurring expenses like match officials, trainers, and field rentals. Is my name corny, yes. Will even a few people signing up make a huge difference, absolutely. You can donate using the links on this page or our website, as well as by mailing a check to 38w307 Killey Ln, Geneva, IL 60134.
Our field costs have doubled in the past 5 years, so all donations are greatly appreciated.
Upcoming Events: Our Spring is packed, and I mean packed, with awesome events.
- Jan 17- FVRFC heads to local food pantry for community outreach.
- Feb. 4 – Six Nations watch party at our host bar Evergreen Pub.
- Feb 11- New Orleans spring tour at Mardi Gras 15’s.
- April 22nd – We are hosting the Des Moines Wombats (a spinoff of our biggest rival Bremer County) for an MLR tailgate double header. After our home match, we will be taking charter buses to see the Chicago Hounds, the area’s new pro-rugby team. We will be playing for a new rivalry trophy to be announced shortly.
- May 6th- 15th Annual Pub Crawl
- May 13th – Riley Cup under stadium lights in our first night game in ages. Still need to lock in some details before this is finalized.
- May 19th – Brand new event and fundraiser. Fox Valley will be hosting a night a the Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles to take in an awesome Pink Floyd tribute band.
Offseason Training: The team is excited to announce a new off-season training facility. We recognize that the standard for success is higher since we’ve been promoted and we are putting in the work to meet that standard. We also hope that increasing our offerings attracts more potential recruits. Look for more information on our website or Facebook page as January gets closer.
Hall of Fame: The team is excited to announce our Hall of Fame inductees for 2022, who will be celebrated during our annual banquet. This years inductees are: Everett E Williams, Jerry Solecki, Paul Palleson, Dave Stenson, Dan Kenyon, Bill Arndt, Mark Johnson, Mike Sanders, Chris Wilkes, and Bill Glisson.
This is our largest class ever, but all equally deserving. We hope you can join us in celebrating them.
Sponsors: We would like to thank Graceful Ordinary in St. Charles for their support during the year. If you haven’t been we encourage you to check it out. We would also like to thank Conversion Strategies for their web support and Evergreen Pub and Grill for hosting our home socials.
Banquet: I’ll end with a call to register for our banquet as soon as possible. The banquet will be held January 21st, 2023 at Baker Community Center in St. Charles. Cocktail hour starts at 5pm. Tickets are on our website under the “SHOP” tab. This is our biggest event of the year and has really grown into a very nice event.
This is a great time for the different generations of our club to mingle and swap stories. I know what the other clubs in the area do and I’ll say hands down we throw one of the best banquets of any rugby club in the Chicago area.
Fox Valley Rugby, President