7s Update – Feb 28-29

7s Update – Feb 28-29

The Lions are sending Men’s and Women’s 7s teams to compete at the club 7s tournament connected to the LA 7s. Previews and rosters are below. Be sure to follow us on the Lions’ social media to get regular updates.

Dignity Health Sports Park (see map)
18400 Avalon Boulevard
Carson, CA 90746

From Women’s 7s Coach Jeremy Nash:

“The Chicago Lions Women’s 7s team seeks to defend the Open Division title they won last year in Las Vegas. The Lions roster sees 5 players lead the way from their 2019 roster which finished 7th place at the national championship. Additional firepower comes from Lauren “Rookie” Ebeling, Katie Lohaus, Nicole “Newtro” Edgecombe and Betty Nguyen, who all contributed to the Las Vegas victory last winter. Debuting in a Lions Seven’s jersey are Jilllian Stariha, and making her very first appearance in the Lions Black is promising youngster Alba Corney, who starred for DePaul University before deciding to take on a greater challenge by joining the Lions. Back-in-form Tanya “Twiggs” Carlson adds a veteran presence with international experience. The team will be led by Rose DiBalsamo, Kelley Hirt, and Betty Nguyen, who formed the leadership brain trust for the summer 2019 season.

“Despite the unplanned absence of their coach from all but 1 training session, this group of Lions secured a second straight tournament championship in Iowa at the Hawkeye Classic, and are eager to use that platform to boost them into LA, where the top performing teams in each of the pools on day 1 will find themselves in the cup semi finals, while the next 4 finishers battle it out in quarter final games on day 1.”

From Men’s 7s Coach Matt Wagner:

“The Chicago Lions Men’s 7s team is competing in the 8-team elite division at the 2020 Los Angeles Invitational. The Lions are in a pool with the Upright Rogues from Canada, the Stars from USA, and Japan SDS.

“The Lions have a very talented roster, returning 8 players from the 2019 team that finished 5th in the nation. Veterans Michael Ziegler, Tom Kacor, and Jake Hidalgo lead a squad with a diverse mix of tools. Former multi-time college national and CRC champion Jack Desmond compliments the savvy Joe van Zyl in the halfbacks. Will Chevalier, the current Big Ten ROY adds an impressive grasp of the game for such a young age. 2019 New England Free Jack Aaron Cummings and his former Davenport teammate Trevor Rothaas will debut for the side along with Principia Basketball captain and 2019 College Dream Team player TreVaughn Goodman. Willis Goodwin and Josh Williams add more quickness from the bench as well. Andrew Guerra is the always tough captain and Alex Dorrier is the vice-captain.”

The boys have had an intense eight-week block of preparation and are chomping at the bit to get out into the sunshine and run against some quality opposition.

Lions Awards Banquet 2020

Lions Awards Banquet 2020

Last Saturday, over 120 Lions players and supporters gathered to celebrate a historic 2019 at the Annual Lions Awards Banquet. The event was held at Hayden Hall, a beautiful new event space located in the Loop. The Lions enjoyed selections from six different restaurants as well as local beers and craft cocktails.

Hayden Hall

Thank you to Play Robin Hood for sponsoring the cocktail Hour, Betty Nguyen for DJing, and Colin Doyle for putting together a slide show of pictures from 2019. Congratulations to all of the award winners.

See the photos on our Facebook page »

2020 Lions Honors

Lowry Lion: Kevin Drewyer

Men’s 15s Player of the Year: Mike Ziegler
Men’s 15s New Lion: Jack Desmond
Men’s 15s Most Improved: Jovan Vazquez
Men’s 15s Coaches’ Award: Josh Williams

Women’s 15s Player of the Year: Aurora Macek
Women’s 15s New Lion: Katie Lohaus
Women’s 15s Most Improved: Danielle Berkowsky
Women’s 15s Coaches’ Award: Kelley Hirt

Men’s 7s Player of Year: Jake Hidalgo
Women’s 7s Player of Year: Amanda Berta

Community & Youth Volunteer of the Year: Clayton Miller
Lame Lion presented by Athletico: Kevin Lydon

See you next year!

Annual Keith Brown Golf Outing 2019

Annual Keith Brown Golf Outing 2019

Keith and Lisa Brown

Keith and Lisa Brown

On Friday, July 12th, we had the annual Keith Brown President’s Cup Golf Outing at Old Orchard CC in Mt. Prospect. We had over 70 golfers and another 10 attend the reception. Lisa Quinn and her foursome regained their title with a score of 17 under! It was a great day for the Lions with so many alumni getting together. A special thanks to Jim Kearney, Tom Lynch and Lisa Quinn for organizing and running a great event.

The President’s Cup Golf Outing is named in memory of past Chicago Lions Rugby President, Keith Brown.

As President of the Chicago Lions, Keith was an inspirational leader and a passionate advocate for the sport of rugby. Keith was instrumental in the formation of the CLCA and in building the partnership with Chicago Hope Academy. His dream of the Lions owning our field is now a reality.

The Keith Brown President’s Cup Award has been established to honor Keith and his boundless efforts in building the Lions organization. As we move forward, the annual award will be bestowed upon the President or Administrator who exemplifies dedication, leadership, longevity, the love of the Club… and of course the game.

Previous award winners are Ed Kane, Dick Smith and David Hall. This year’s winner is Jeff Simon.

Thank you to the following:

  • Taft Law as our Cocktail Hour sponsor
  • Mark Wilcox and Matt Campbell as our prize sponsors
  • All our hole sponsors who supported this great event
Lions for Hope Sports Complex Update

Lions for Hope Sports Complex Update

We want to provide you an update as we have some exciting news to share as we continue the development of the Lions for Hope Complex. Construction on the West field has been coming along nicely despite the harsh Chicago winter and the rainy past few weeks.

We should have the field completed by the end of July and it will be named the J. Tyke Nollman Field.

We want to thank the First Fifteen, President’s XV and Captains VX  and other donors that have contributed to the Lions for Hope Sports complex that we will call home!

You can still join the team!

CogeoCogeo

At the end of March, we hired Cogeo, a firm specializing in organizational management and development for capital build-outs and initiatives.

Cogeo is a trusted advisor that will guide us to build a better, more professional organization as we continue to take our project to the public.

Most importantly, they will help us develop an effective capital campaign for the remaining phases (the building and East field) and our immediate needs.

There are two short-term projects that Cogeo will help us with:

  1. As we identify potential donors, Cogeo will help us develop the strategy to approach and gauge their interest in becoming engaged with us. We need your help in building out our potential donor list.
  2. Building out our steering committee. The committee is a group of individuals expected to help drive campaign activity by connecting us with their network. Being on the steering committee is not a big time commitment. Rather, these individuals will be engaged to make connections and help fundraising efforts.

If you are interested in learning more about the steering committee or helping in any capacity, please contact us.

Grey Lions at 50th Aspen Ruggerfest

Grey Lions at 50th Aspen Ruggerfest

Above: Chicago Lions Rugby group (click to enlarge)

The Chicago Grey Lions played in Aspen for the 50th Ruggerfest with a strong contingent of players and supporters totaling almost 75. Fortunately or unfortunately, we had more supporters than players. It was a beautiful weekend and we played our only two games on Friday. We started with close to 25-30 players for the first game at 9 a.m. against the Virginia Cardinals who normally travel with 45-50 players. Despite the early start, we played hard but gave a few long tries away and could not score ourselves. Players were dropping quickly and fortunately, we had Mark Kaufman and Paul Hadden of AthletiCo there to fix the injured… just like old times. However, we lost the game 0-17.

Playing in Aspen

Playing in Aspen

By the time the second game started at noon on the main pitch, we were down to about 18 players but picked up a few others. We played Mosman Rugby Club from Sydney, Australia, spending much of the game in their end with some high quality tactical kicking from hand and even took an early 3-0 lead on a Phil Olson penalty kick. We played much better in this game but still could not find the try zone and lost 3-15. In both games, all the guys played hard and earned the respect of the opposition. We had players from the following clubs besides the Lions; Milwaukee, South Side Irish, Louisville, Chicago Blaze. Thank you to those guys.

Paul Hadden and Mark Kaufman

Paul Hadden and Mark Kaufman of AthletiCo

Bill Marshall and Paul MycroftWhile some of us did go to play rugby, the majority went to enjoy the beauty of Aspen and spend time with old friends from all over the world. The Red Ski House was the Lions’ base with about a third of the people staying there. On Friday night, we had a team party with over 75 people. A special thanks goes to Mark Kaufman for funding this event and to Pat Bolger and David Skidmore for organizing. It was a great time with numerous past Lions Presidents in attendance.

Normally, Saturday is a rugby day but for us, it was a touring day with watching rugby, hiking, fishing, biking… and sampling the local beer. The day ended with a happy hour hosted by Paul Hadden, Tony Rio and Billy Marshall before people went out to dinner and more partying.

My last special thanks goes to Mark Sawicki and Mike Palmer for organizing the trip and rallying everyone. Mark did the recruiting of players and led us on the field. It was great to see Mark “ready to go to war” again, summoning his US Eagle playing days. Mike made sure we had plenty of water (and oxygen) and played hard as well.

As President of the Lions, it made me very proud to be a Lion this past weekend. The friendships and camaraderie that we established years ago are still strong across generations.

The pride of the Lions was on display all weekend and hopefully, rekindled everyone’s connection to the club. We have a great group of alumni and we all can be proud of the current coaching staff and players for continuing on with the tradition of all being Chicago Lions.

~ Jeff Simon

Jeff Simon

“A big thank you to the Lions!! Truly a great American rugby club made up of so many incredible personalities.” (Pat J)

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