• John Coumbe-Lilley

I get asked why we train even when there are no games ahead? My response is two-fold, first what is the alternative to not training, and improving the quality of our sports experience and developing our game? Second, and more importantly, we're rugby people, we're social, we love the game, and we like being with players. Matches might be delayed, but they will return.

Chicago North Shore has endured difficult moments in the past, but we have an opportunity to keep our rugby community flourishing. Rugby gives us a reason to connect, be physically active, have some laughs, and we have permission because of rugby to be expressive, athletic, tough, social, and together. That's why I prepare for training. show up ready to go, and always look forward to the good moments our club creates every day.

18-month schedule

Even in difficult times, you have to have a vision for what you hope for, and what you value. The board approved a 'fantasy schedule' for the next 18 months. We know this schedule will change, but we are able to set goals, and prepare in the best way for a return to rugby.

We included rugby league into our schedule, sevens, and the women's premier league. We know things might not go as planned, but the schedule gives us focus, keeps us connected, and let's face it, whether you're a coach or a player you can never develop your skills enough, there's always something improve, and our rugby community deserves to come together.

New forwards coach - Noby Takaki

I am delighted to announce club stalwart Noby Takaki will join the coaching staff as our tight five specialist coach. Noby and I have known each other for twenty-year years since she emerged into the game. Since then Noby earned twenty years of rugby experience with Chicago North Shore including the national championship, and entry into the Women's Premier League. Noby's hundreds of games at the club, CARFU, and midwest level and even more training sessions in the pack are a great asset to the club. Our forwards will benefit from a nightly focus on their skills, and execution. Noby graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, and went on to a top career as a coach and manager.

Rugby league update

We are moving forward to become the first women's rugby league club in the country. Players have registered with the USA women's rugby league management. Our intention is to introduce rugby league to the club in October (depending on restrictions). We intend to create a year-round set of rugby opportunities for players who want them, and rugby league is part of this vision.

July 2020 in the rearview mirror

We finished our July Block of training with a zero infection rate in our club. Our Board took the lead and emphatically dealt with the situation COVID-19 presented us. The players, and club members all responded well, and we trained as if rugby was around the corner. We had several themes in our July block including halfback focus, exit sets, and decision-making. Numbers steadily increased from 8-9 players at the beginning of July to 19 players at training on July 30. Since January, the commitment from players has been top draw. Their conditioning, recovery, and socializing have stepped up, and July showed how committed the players were.

New training dates

Training begins at 7 pm sharp and finishes at 8:30 pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays and some Saturdays.

August dates: 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27

Saturdays: 22, 29.

September: 1, 3, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17,

Saturdays: 12, 26.

Rugby league training focus

October: 1, 6, 8, 3, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29

Saturdays: 10, 24

COVID-19 Restrictions

We always train in the proper way according to the instructions we receive from rugby authorities and our board's direction. If we move back to phase 3, we will continue to train using individual modes of training as we did earlier in the season.

  • John Coumbe-Lilley

As July 4th approached we trained for three nights last week in our almost ‘rugby phase’. We worked on handling, kicking, and receiving, decision-making, communication, and leadership in our integrated sessions. Numbers continue to be good given the conditions we find ourselves in. The spirit is good, we found time to enjoy the fireworks lit over our heads against a full moon over Chicago.

One of the amazing things about training at Stanton Park is the night sky and Chicago skyline working together to create an amazing backdrop for our training. It’s hard not to be inspired in the golden hour before sunset. Join us for some rugby and astronomy at Stanton Park.

Thursday night is touch rugby night! Come out play with Chicago North Shore.

Training Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday starts at 7 pm sharp and winds down at

8:45 pm.

I can’t wait! See you on the field.


  • John Coumbe-Lilley

There is no Fall WPL

No WPL. No problem. Our board and I began conversations several weeks ago about the WPL not going ahead as intended. We have a plan for our club and player development including regular gameplay within phase-4 restrictions. All our members will still be able to train three times per week and get playing time to improve, have fun, and continue to strive for representative honors. A new program of activities will be available after July 20.

Get your passports ready

Rugby clubs around the world are chomping at the bit to cross the white lines and kick off their first game post-COVID-19. We are exploring opportunities for international travel in 2021. As details emerge updates will be posted to the website and internal club communications. Our goal is to tour and play abroad every other year at a minimum.

Player feedback sessions

We started our first semi-annual player checking to review goals and understand training priorities and improvements for individual players. These meetings were scheduled in one hour blocks sometimes alone or in pairs with a teammate present. The next individual player check-in will be at the end of the fall season in late October / early November.

Rugby League

We are exploring a rugby league concept with USA Women's Rugby League to become a northern franchise. Our purpose with this opportunity is to discover if it adds to an annual calendar of exciting rugby opportunities for all skill levels and a pathway for motivated players who seek that extra competitive edge in addition to the WPL.

Several of our players are registered for the upcoming USA Women's Rugby League event in Austin, TX this fall. We will be preparing all players irrespective of union club affiliation for the event with clinics and training sessions. This is a great opportunity to broaden and deepen your rugby experience and be part of an exciting process. If you love running hard, creativity and tackling, fitness, and non-stop action, then rugby league is for you.