The RugbyTown environment
Colby Townsend, a native of Houston, Texas, had never even been to Colorado before making the trek from Austin to in February to try something a little crazy.
“I moved out here on a wing and a prayer,” Townsend said. “I packed up all my hopes and dream into that little 2004 Chevy Cavalier.”
The destination: Infinity Park, which opened in 2007 with the intentions of making Glendale, Colorado the capital city for rugby in the United States.
Nothing about the trip out was easy for Townsend, who plays the position of prop, who because of their size props the hookers up in the scrum and play a large role in propelling the scrum forward. His patience was tested when he couldn’t even propel his car forward – it quit on him one state shy of his destination.
“My car broke down in the middle of Kansas” Townsend said. “I had to rent a car to get out here.”
Glendale isn’t nicknamed “RugbyTown USA” for nothing. Aside from hosting international rugby tournaments, all levels of the Raptors’ roster are made up of plenty of people that have absolutely no ties to Colorado.
Townsend spent time with the Austin Blacks before settling into his new role with the Raptors’ Division II team, which after a tough fall schedule went undefeated this spring. The Raptors own big wins at home over Colorado Springs and the Denver Barbarians developmental side.
The Raptors fell just short of Frontier Division II Final that was at Infinity Park on May 7 which determined the Frontier teams that moved on to the USA Rugby Club Championship bracket.
Townsend made the move to Glendale because he felt it was the best place for him to continue his rugby career.
“I want to make the national side,” Townsend said. “I want to do it all. I want to be the Michael Jordan of rugby.”
According to Townsend, the 25-year-old is not planning on heading back to Texas anytime soon.
“I’m pretty much in this for the long haul now.” Townsend said. “I love this team, and I love these facilities.”
Like Townsend, Marshall Godfrey also made the move to Glendale from his hometown of Eldorado Hills, California in October 2015 because he felt the club gave him the best chance to reach his full potential.
“The whole environment of rugby that is here with this club in general is hard to find in the States.” Godfrey said.
A U-20 All-American, the 21-year-old wants to go as far as he can with rugby and he feels that he’s found the club to help him reach his goals.
“In the long shot, Glendale is the place to be if I’m trying to give myself the best shot if I’m trying to improve myself,” Godfrey says.
Photo by Seth McConnell