History of the Lions
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 Chicago Lions are the only team in the Midwest to field fully competitive sides for Men’s Division 1, Men’s and Women’s Division 2, and Men’s and Women’s 7s. The Lions have had several teams within our organization, including an over-35 Grey Lions squad 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.
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.
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.
Director of Rugby
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.
Director of Youth Rugby
Andy is responsible for developing and implementing our youth rugby initiative. There are over 30 schools and 9,000 students within a two mile radius of our complex and Andy will be focused on the middle school kids to start. He has also been coaching the combined Hope/Wapiti High School team and has received rave reviews.
Andy grew up in Zimbabwe, Africa. Over the years, he represented and played for a number of different teams and select sides all over the world. He studied Sports Business Management at Hartpury and then received a contract for Scottish Premiership Club Boroughmuir RFC where he played for the next seven seasons. While there, he played for the Scotland Club XV (Scotland Amateurs), he was part of the extended Scottish 7s squad, he played on an invitational 7s team at the Dubai Sevens, played for and captained the Zimbabwean national team in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Hong Kong, and Madagascar, and captained the club to the Scottish Cup title played at Murrayfield.
In Scotland, Andy started as a personal trainer in 2010 but then grew more into rugby development and coaching which included coach-educating (on top of playing) for Boroughmuir. Andy has been coaching in some capacity for over 10 years.
Andy joined the Lions in March 2017 and he is extremely excited to be given the opportunity to help the club grow and branch into youth rugby, becoming a complete pathway for rugby players.