Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NYC Youth Rugby Coach Named A Coach of the Year

I wanted to share a press release I got tonight, compliments of Sara John (USA Rugby) and Noel Wolfe (thanks guys!), on local NYC coaches and highschool teacher Lisa Lake (in red in photo at left). Lisa has been named as a coach of the year after coming in third in the “Play it Forward” contest held by Youth Noise, a youth social network.

Congratulations to Lisa! Read the full press release after the break.

NYC Youth Rugby Coach Named A Coach of the Year
Lisa Lake Honored in National “Play it Forward” Contest
Washington, D.C. – New York City rugby coach and former USA national team player Lisa Lake has been named a Coach of the Year as the third-place winner of the national Play it Forward contest. Sponsored by Up2Us, the leading national coalition of youth sports organizations, and Youth Noise, a social networking website for young people, the Play it Forward contest invited current and former youth athletes to nominate coaches who have had an effect on their lives. Entries were posted at: and winners were voted on and selected online.
Lisa Lake teaches high school in the Bronx, and played and coaches rugby for the New York Rugby Club, based in New York City. The club has over 200 active players and more than 500 alumni, many of whom play an important role in coaching, mentoring, and fundraising to enable the club’s Under 19 program to be successful.

Lisa (far left) with New York Rugby Club.

As program director for the U19 program, Lake recalls, “We started with six students who were interested in learning the game. We practiced on a median strip in the Bronx because there were no fields available. Today, we have more than 50 boys and girls in our program, and have graduated 30 players from the program in the past two years. 95% of those players have graduated from high school; 85% of those players are in college, and a good number still play rugby.”
“During my sophomore year, Coach Lake invited me to a practice,” Willie Dominguez explained in his entry. “That practice that day changed my life. It showed me no matter what race you are or where you come from you can all come together for a good cause. On the field, Coach Lake never let me give up on myself. She pushed me beyond my limits. She brought out my full potential and made me the player I am today.”
As much as Coach Lake seeks to improve her players’ athleticism and rugby skills, she also pushes them to high achievement in the classroom. She insists that her players stay focused on their education and maintain good grades. She regularly takes time out of her personal schedule to provide extra academic help to players who need it.
“Coach Lake has had a major impact in my life,” Willie Dominguez added. “I wouldn't be the person I am today with out the helping hand of someone who is more like family to me than a coach.”
“I am honored to be recognized as a Coach of the Year, and to realize what an impact I have had on the lives of the boys and girls that I have worked with,” said Lisa Lake. “Coaches have a tremendous opportunity to not only help young people improve their game, but to help instill values – strength, commitment, perseverance – that are important in life as well.”
“The winners of the Coach of the Year contest are not only great coaches, but, like Lisa Lake, are mentors and leaders who are dedicated to improving their players’ lives and performances both on and off the dance floor and the field,” said Paul Caccamo, Executive Director of Up2Us.

)with boys and girls U19 teams at a tournament in D.C. Lisa (far right middle row

to attend the Up2Us National Conference on Sports-Based Youth Development on October 22 and 23. The first of its kind conference will be attended by youth sports leaders from across the US. Coach Lake will be honored at a special reception, and will receive an award from professional tennis player Monica Seles and Olympic gold medalist and track and field star Edwin Moses.Lisa Lake will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C.

To view information on Lisa Lake and the other winners of the contest visit:

About Up2Us – Up2Us is the leading national coalition that seeks to increase the impact of, and access to, youth sports as a tool for positive youth development. With more than 200 member organizations, Up2Us is focused on increasing the quality and quantity of youth sports programs, involving more children in sport-based youth development programs, and engaging more adults to work and volunteer with these programs. For more information, visit

Contact: Gina Russo, Up2Us, 202-421-3578 phone, email


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