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  • John Coumbe-Lilley

Spirits were high last night. Chicago North Shore is back training and the vibe was good and positive. The City of Chicago eased its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions to phase 3 and we started our summer training schedule at Stanton Park at the intersection of Division and Halsted with a stunning nighttime view of the Chicago skyline. As twilight came last night the city lit up, and it was fantastic to be training in one of the world's great cities.


Our training focus is to get back into rugby condition, be with our teammates, have the laughs and giggles we need and develop individual movement quality, ball-handling skills, and build a base of endurance for the season ahead (fingers crossed).


We observe World Rugby's directions, all players are tested and report their health conditioning before training. We maintain distance, avoid sharing equipment and water bottles, we follow sanitation rules and we're consistent. All 13 players who trained last night gave a great effort, and we're looking forward to building towards some kind of rugby later this year. The training ended with smiles, encouragement, and motivation to return for the next session.


We're back!



  • John Coumbe-Lilley

My last post was on Match 20th it seems so long ago that we were planning our spring season, thinking of all the positive things and breaks that could come our way. Then the pandemic took hold and got us in its grip. Over the last ten weeks, we have come together as a club to support each other, share home workouts, keep long-standing friendships, and build new ones. We have seen our teammates suffer employment difficulties, work stress, and mounting challenges. Our rugby community has stayed connected and secure through it all.

These days, new leaders emerged to lift our spirits and brighten our days. North Shore Stars of the past and present contributed to weekly podcasts and discussions, giving career, nutrition, and life insights. We met twice per week for virtual practice sessions for six weeks. Rookies and veterans blended, and the relationship between Chicago Women and Chicago North Shore strengthened.

Spring is here, the weather has shown up, COVID-19 health restrictions are easing, and we are planning our gentle return to rugby training. We will observe the best practices for health and safety following World Rugby requirements, as well as our local authority guidelines.

As I return to rugby, my thoughts and well wishes go to the families, essential professionals, and friends touched by the negative impact of the pandemic. When life is at stake, playing rugby is a luxury, and I will not forget what happened to us this spring. I hope we never to face another spring like this, and I hope for all members of the rugby community, the best of health outside the lines so that we can play worry-free between the lines.

  • John Coumbe-Lilley

Chicago United (Chicago North Shore & Chicago Women) completed their first week of virtual online practice. 22 members called in for the first practice, and 24 joined the second session. The team is making the best of a tough situation using technology to facilitate player education on mental skills training, positional requirements, match analysis, and systems briefings.


Even though health, safety and social distancing is uppermost in our minds, we love rugby, and learning a little bit about the game is useful for new players, and good reminders for seasoned players too. Club members can access materials on the club’s YouTube channel and shared drive.


Let’s talk diet and conditioning. We all need to monitor the quality of our food intake and our eating patterns. It is tough to not become comfortable with life as it is, on the other hand flexibility, mobility, intake regulation and hydration are all things players and coaches alike need to be careful about. Good nutrition, sleep, fluid and workout habits are good for rugby, and good for life. Be healthy for life!



Check in on a friend, look after your pets, connect with someone you love, and look after yourself.

Go CU!

John