We are excited to announce that we have offered the position of head coach to Theo Bennett for the upcoming fall WPL season. Theo has been coaching rugby around the world since 1994, starting in his home country of New Zealand. His diversity of experience has had him coach both men and women, both 15s and 7s, and he has also developed other coaches throughout his career. He speaks English and Portuguese, and is also a competition athlete of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His current work has him stationed in Brazil where he is the head coach and founder of Atena Women’s Rugby Seven’s club that serves to create pathways for local players to the Brazilian National Team. He also serves as a rugby consultant for the US Air Force men’s team, for which he travels to the US and coaches them in the days leading up to tournaments. Notably, while coaching in Australia, he successfully coached a struggling team back from a 30+ game losing streak to the top four in their division.
Through the coach selections committee’s conversations with Theo, we have seen his genuine enthusiasm for building a strong community both for our team and for himself in the Bay Area and in supporting the All Blues’ team culture and performance. Theo wrote that, “after talking to Allie [Byrne] and Lisa [Dombroski] briefly, we established that there is a needed long-term plan and philosophy for rebuilding a foundation of sustainable rugby quality, and player and coach development.” This is in line with our club’s refocused goal of player development, which we started in earnest in the past D2 spring season. Theo sees his role as “a builder of communities,” figuring out how one can fit people into a place where they feel appreciated and belong, and at the same time “guiding the objectives of all stakeholders, so that we are productive in our rugby culture and have sustainability of positive outcomes.”
The executive board believes Theo’s plans of helping build our community and our players’ confidence through training will be key in elevating the All Blues in the WPL and strengthening our Olympic pathway. He is currently visiting the area to get a feel for our team culture and begin planning the upcoming WPL season. He has been very enthusiastic in supporting our 7s players, as well as our team fundraising activities for SF Pride. Catch him while he’s in town until July 3rd! We look forward to having him start his official role at the start of the WPL season, which begins in mid-August!