History of the Lions

Lions 66

Lions in 1966

Chicago Lions Rugby is a premier rugby club in the Midwest and has been a consistent powerhouse in the United States rugby scene since the club’s inception in 1964.

The Lions are the only team in the Midwest to field fully competitive sides for Division 1, Men’s Club 7s and a Women’s 7s competition, as well as a 2nd team development side. The Lions have had several teams within our organization, including an over 35s “Grey Lions” to keep our extensive network of players old and new active and involved. We have an elite, experienced coaching staff and are fortunate to also have a full-service training staff partnership with AthletiCo at their disposal for training sessions and matches both home and away.

Midwest champions all

The Lions call Chicago Hope Academy Field their home, located at 732 South Washtenaw in Chicago. This location is a direct result of a long term partnership with Chicago Hope Academy. This partnership with a private, coed college prep school for urban youth creates unique sponsorship opportunities for the club and its supporters. The Lions are also spearheading the development and coaching efforts of the Chicago Hope Academy youth rugby club.

For further information about the club, the teams, the Hope Academy partnership, playing schedules and results, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact us for more details.

Aspen group

Key People

Jeff Simon

Jeff Simon


Jeff Simon is the current President of the Chicago Lions Charitable Association and has led the organization as a volunteer since 2012, successfully completing the first Capital Campaign of $750,000 to buy the land as we now embark on our second Capital Campaign to build the Lions for Hope Sports Complex.

Jeff played 14 years of rugby with 8 of those years as a Chicago Lion. He was also player, coach and chairman of Maccabi USA Rugby. Jeff works in the financial services industry and is a Certified Financial Planner. He has an MBA from University of Illinois-Chicago and a BBA from Southern Methodist University.

Dave Clancy

Dave Clancy

Director of Coaching

Dave joined the Lions for the 2016/17 15s season, moving to Chicago from previous roles with Munster, Samoa and Cayman Islands. His experience in high-performance team environments around the world has benefited the Lions greatly, evident with a Midwest Championship win in his first season and a run that went as far as the the National semi-finals.

Dave hails from Limerick, Ireland, where he studied sport and exercise science and gained invaluable experience with Munster Rugby, one of the world’s leading clubs before heading abroad in search of new challenges. In Dave, we believe we have a coach who can bring the Lions to the very top of American rugby and into a new era of professionalism in our approach on and off the field.

Tristan Lewis

Tristan Lewis

Director of Operations

After a successful career in Public and Media Relations, the sale of Windy City Communications allowed Tristan to be challenged by being involved in the growth of USA Rugby at the international level, developing relationships with World Rugby and numerous rugby unions.

The combination of commercial knowledge &and team management makes him a uniquely qualified to insure that sponsors and team members can be confident that their interests will be handled with the utmost professionalism.

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