The secret is out.
The story of today’s Glendale, Colorado, began a decade ago, when city leaders developed a bold plan: The future of the city would be built around the sport of rugby. At the time, rugby was one of the best-kept sporting secrets in the United States. Internationally, it has a following only soccer can rival. Today, the secret is out. More than 1 million Americans play the game, and even more follow it.
At the time, perhaps it seemed crazy: betting the future on placing a relatively unknown sport in a 384-acre city tucked away in a large metropolitan area. But in hindsight, it’s prescience is clear. Glendale, Colorado, lies at the confluence of two major Denver roadways. It already was a business-friendly environment. What’s more, a fun, welcoming culture is part of Glendale’s DNA. Decades ago, Glendale was a major regional hub of dining, entertainment, and recreation. While that reputation had slid in recent years, it was on it’s way up. Infinity Park would boost that trajectory, aiming for national, and even international, acclaim.
So, in 2007, after years of work, the 4,000-seat Infinity Park was erected. It was the country’s first stadium built for rugby. The municipal support behind both the stadium and team was also a trailblazing arrangement. Both women’s and men’s teams play under the blue and gold banner of the Glendale Raptors. Consistently a top national club, the Raptors travel the country and host the nation’s top talent. Both the men’s and the women’s team have been national champions, and both clubs feature players representing the United States on the national team. Tens of thousands of fans turn out each season, and the youth development program has drawn more than 2,000 participants.
Zach Fenoglio is at the pinnacle of the rugby pathway playing for the Glendale Raptors, the Denver Stampede Pro Rugby team as well as the USA Eagles National Team.
Pope John Paul II was a rugby player. In fact, he once represented Poland in rugby.
Rugby is the cornerstone of the Infinity Park complex.
But, as its name suggests, it’s only just the beginning. The onsite fitness facility is open to the community. The stadium’s field, seating, and neighboring practice field were designed to host rec sports in addition to events as varied as outdoor movies, concerts, and private events. For events that require indoor space, the top-tier Infinity Park Event Center provides a setting for receptions, conferences, and more. The Center’s team of event specialists help envision, produce, and deliver a seamless experience for as few as 40 people up to thousands.
The success of Infinity Park has reverberated throughout Glendale and has helped spur its transformation into a major cultural and entertainment hub for Colorado. Glendale is home to more than 160 stores and restaurants. The Target, Home Depot, and King Soopers in Glendale annually rank among the three biggest stores in the entire country by revenue. Glendale 180, the next major project in Glendale, will become a one-of-a-kind dining and entertainment destination and harkens back to Glendale’s entertainment roots. By combining the best of small-town charm and urban sophistication, Glendale’s businesses and community continue to make the city a distinct destination along the Front Range.
It’s the attitude. The character. The “this is who we are.”
Admittedly, this enterprise that Glendale has embarked on is not easy to describe. Unlike other community undertakings, like building a shopping mall or rebranding a city, this endeavor can’t be explained in one or two words. It stretches one’s understanding of what a community project is and what benefits can result from it. An example of smart, public-private partnership, it’s a long-term vision with day-to-day implications for everyone in the Denver metro area.
The result is something we call RugbyTown, USA. It’s more than the grand structures, the buzz in the air on game day, or the glittering lights shining down from above the ballroom floor. It’s the attitude, the character, the “this is who we are” that the entire city can rally behind. And there’s an open invitation to anyone who wants to be a part of it.
The future of Glendale, Colorado, will be based on the values found in and the excitement generated from Infinity Park. “Every great city in America features a location that serves as a central point of contact,” says Glendale Mayor, Mike Dunafon. “The possibilities are endless for the events that this new complex can host. The single eight-block area in the heart of the city will serve as a natural, unifying hub for all of the everyday community activities in Glendale.”
Not only do you have to break the try-line, but you have to touch the ball down to score points in rugby.
The modern rugby ball is made of polyurethane, synthetic leather, laminated polyester, latex and glue, and is designed to withstand the elements.