CPC Featured Player: Sally Shatford

Full Name (plus any rugby nickname/s): Sally Shatford

Hometown: Pasadena, CA

Position(s) played: 6, 11, 13, etc.

All Blues since: 2017

Best advice you have ever received about playing rugby: “The worst decision you can make is no decision”

 Sally breaking through the line vs. SFGG during the most recent D2 season.

Sally breaking through the line vs. SFGG during the most recent D2 season.

       Sally first started playing rugby sophomore year of college at Colorado College. She had some friends that had already been playing who said she could give it a try. She used to play soccer, and missed playing a sport, so she came out to a practice and found that she loved it. After graduating, some of the same rugby friends who played at CC and also later played with the All Blues—Sydney P, Denali G and Monika R—encouraged her to come play for our team, and in the summer of 2017 Sally first donned our blue and gold jersey.  

Sally during her first season playing with the All Blues.

       When asked what her most memorable time was with the All Blues thus far, Sally said that the most recent D2 finals stuck with her. According to Sally, “it was the best game we played all season and made me feel and recognize all the progress the team had made in a few months.” She also especially credited the leadership team with her own personal rugby growth during that season. She said that she’s “never been on a team where everybody is invested in developing everybody else! It's a really nice atmosphere. I am not afraid to ask questions or make mistakes.” She appreciated that leadership explained not just what to do, but also the how and why. According to Sally the focus was “on becoming better at reading the field instead of [solely learning] very specific plays.” This worked out well for her, since besides improving her defensive skills, developing her field vision was her other goal.  

 Sally catches a runaway Life West fullback.

Sally catches a runaway Life West fullback.

 The 2018 D2 team at the end of season finals.

The 2018 D2 team at the end of season finals.

       Outside of rugby, Sally’s passions are cooking and making things. She is currently trying to improve her wood working skills, which she did a lot with her dad growing up. She also just recently earned her Master's in Geography at SFSU, successfully defending her thesis on mapping areas of income-based segregation and affordable housing locations in San Francisco. Congratulations Sally!

CPC Featured Player: Florence Gomez

Full Name (plus any rugby nickname/s): Florence Gomez (Too many nicknames to name)

Hometown: Yigo, Guam
Position(s) played: Center, Back Three

  Flo on the attack in a WPL match last season versus ORSU.  Photo modified from Mark Gordon Murray

Flo on the attack in a WPL match last season versus ORSU.  Photo modified from Mark Gordon Murray

All Blues: When and how did you first start playing rugby? What got you into it?

Florence: I was a late bloomer. I just started playing about four years ago, when I reached my dirty thirties. I was approached while out with my roommate by a rugger, not knowing that my roommate had played in college. She convinced me to check out one practice and I instantly fell in love.

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AB: Did you play any sports prior to rugby?

F: I’ve been playing sports since the age of four. My first sport was track, I’ve tried to play just about every sport they offered in schools but basketball and fast pitch softball where the only ones I stuck with. I ended up playing for a traveling softball team in the Navy after high school. Now rugby is the only sport I play.

  Cottontown 7s Champions! Photo courtesy of Florence Gomez

Cottontown 7s Champions! Photo courtesy of Florence Gomez

AB: Do you have a philosophy/mindset when you practice and play rugby? 

F: When I play I just think about having fun, when you stop having fun you lose the love for playing.
 


AB: How did you first find out about the All Blues? What made you come out here and join us?

F: The All Blues are known nationwide; I’ve always heard good things about this team. I wasn’t sure what team I was going to play with when I moved to Berkeley. I decided to check out each team and choose from there but after one practice with the ABs I knew this is where I wanted to be. I loved the environment and the team was extremely welcoming.
 

  Flo with some fellow All Blues at an after match social in Santa Rosa. Photo credit: Victoria Abrenica

Flo with some fellow All Blues at an after match social in Santa Rosa. Photo credit: Victoria Abrenica

AB: Is there a particular player and/or coach that has influenced your development as a player? In what way(s) did they help you?

F: My first vet Kelly Sager is probably the most influential person. My first year playing we didn’t have a coach and I was the only rookie. She took me under her wing and taught me the game--mostly the rules and how to use them to my advantage.

  Flo with her vet, Kelly Sager, at the Chattanooga Pitch A Tent 7s Tournament. Photo courtesy of Florence Gomez

Flo with her vet, Kelly Sager, at the Chattanooga Pitch A Tent 7s Tournament. Photo courtesy of Florence Gomez


AB: What is the best advice you have ever received about playing rugby?

F: The best advice I’ve ever received is that I have more time than I think.
 

AB: Any other fun facts about yourself you’d like to share with us?

F: I am a sock enthusiast, I own a lot of socks lol.

CPC Featured Player Q&A: Ceara Lafferty

Full Name (plus any rugby nickname(s)): Ceara “8Foot” Lafferty

Hometown: Rome, Italy
Position(s) played: Lock, 8

All Blues since: 7s since 2016, 15s since this season

  8Foot fending off an opponent for Cal. Photo courtesy of Ceara Lafferty

8Foot fending off an opponent for Cal. Photo courtesy of Ceara Lafferty

All Blues: When and how did you first start playing rugby?  What got you into it?

8Foot: I’ve been playing team sports for most of my life and have loved every minute of it, so when I decided that I wanted to go to Cal, my dad had a feeling I would want to continue pursuing that passion. He discovered that Cal had a club rugby team and, to be honest, I was really skeptical of it when he first mentioned it. When I was recruited by a rugby player during my first week as a freshman, my skepticism turned into curiosity and I decided to dive in headfirst to a rugby practice. I was brought there by a hunch and stayed because of the strength and empowerment I feel every time I’m on the pitch, and because of the open-minded people that make up the rugby community.

  8Foot and the Cal Babies. Photo courtesy of Ceara Lafferty

8Foot and the Cal Babies. Photo courtesy of Ceara Lafferty

AB: Did you play any sports prior to rugby?

8’: I played varsity basketball, soccer, and volleyball all throughout high school. I thought I would be dedicated to being a baller forever, but I found rugby and never looked back.

 

AB: How did you first find out about the All Blues? What made you come out here and join us?

8’: I found out through the Cal to All Blues pipeline! It’s a real thing.

 Rugby strong! A skills break led to some shenanigans from the forwards. Photo modified from the All Blues Rugby Instagram (@allbluesrugby)

Rugby strong! A skills break led to some shenanigans from the forwards. Photo modified from the All Blues Rugby Instagram (@allbluesrugby)

AB: What’s your most memorable time thus far with the All Blues?

8’: I’m sure this sounds hella cheesy, but honestly, every moment spent with the All Blues is better than the last. This team has made me feel so welcomed and loved and valued and it means so much coming from a group of such amazing and talented individuals. [When we first had that double header this season], I played in both the D2 game against the Amazons and the WPL game against Life West and I truly did not know if I was going to make it through the last 10 minutes of the WPL game. My motivation came from the communication and positive attitudes of the people playing next to me, telling me that I could push through. I was able to put work in on the pitch until the final whistle because my teammates believed in me.

  8Foot on the attack at a game vs. Santa Rosa.  Photo: Kyra Trowbridge

8Foot on the attack at a game vs. Santa Rosa.  Photo: Kyra Trowbridge

AB: What is the best advice you have ever received about playing rugby?

8’: There are two pieces of advice that I always carry with me on the pitch. The first comes from a fellow All Blue, friend, and rugby philosopher, Frieda Fetuu: always stay humble. The second piece of advice was said to me by Mari Triplett, an All Blue and former coach of mine. When she was coaching at Cal, she would always say, “Saw your leg off!” That was her way of telling us to do WHATEVER it takes to do what needs to be done. Saw your leg off for the ball, for the scrum, and most importantly, for your teammates. I value both of these pieces of wisdom not only because they came from women I respect immensely, but because they remind me that I play not only for my teammates, but for all of the women who have come before me and will come after me.

  Seriously, that fend though! Photo courtesy of Ceara Lafferty

Seriously, that fend though! Photo courtesy of Ceara Lafferty

AB: What skills are you working on/would like to work on right now?

8’: I’m really working on trying to be a vocal leader. The fact that so many of the All Blues are great leaders has made that a lot easier.

 

AB: What is your favorite non-rugby activity? Do you have any passions besides rugby?

8’: It kind of seems like my whole life revolves around rugby sometimes, but I swear I enjoy doing other things too. I’m super passionate about music. I love to sing, play guitar, go to concerts, and discover new music. I also am trying to get into photography! I also adore food: cooking it, learning about it, watching shows about it, and, most of all, eating it. I’m into exploring too, especially in new cities and the outdoors. 

 

AB: Any other fun facts about yourself you’d like to share with us?

8’: I lived in Rome, Italy for 5 years. That’s where I went to high school and it’s the longest I stayed in one place while growing up. Also, if you didn’t know already, I’m 8 feet tall.

CPC Featured Player Q&A: Serena Liu

Serena started playing for the All Blues in fall 2016, and has played every season with us ever since. She currently serves as as one of three co-captains this spring D2 developmental season. According to Theo Bennett, last season’s WPL coach, Serena “loves to train and is highly intelligent…[and] has the ability to take controlled risks.” Both he and current D2 head coach Evan Hoese noted her “high work ethic” and “constant commitment to improvement.” Towards the latter quality, Hoese said that Serena is “always looking for meaningful feedback...extra sessions of skills and fitness outside of practice...and always takes ownership of her responsibilities and ways she can grow.” As a leader Serena inspires her teammates by both pushing herself and them; her belief in and care of the team is “palpable.”

 

Full Name (plus any rugby nickname(s)): Serena Liu

Hometown: Brea, CA
Position(s) played: Fullback, Wing, Outside Center, Flyhalf

 Serena Liu proudly displaying the All Blues jersey.  Photo: Victoria Abrenica

Serena Liu proudly displaying the All Blues jersey.  Photo: Victoria Abrenica

All Blues: Did you play any sports prior to rugby? When and how did you first start playing rugby? 

Serena: I played soccer and ran track in high school. I wanted to join a club team in college and there weren’t many to choose from. My boyfriend at the time played rugby and encouraged me to try it out. I was immediately hooked! 

 

AB: Do you have a philosophy/mindset when you practice and play rugby? Thinking about a game you thought went really well for you, how did you get your mind and body ready for that match?

S: I think that it is really important to have a growth mindset and always be willing to learn new things but also continue to work on mastering the basics. I’m still trying new things and working on figuring out what works best for me in regards to a pre-match routine for games.

 Serena played for the University of Hartford in Connecticut during all her four years of undergrad. Photo courtesy of Serena Liu

Serena played for the University of Hartford in Connecticut during all her four years of undergrad. Photo courtesy of Serena Liu

AB: How did you first find out about the All Blues? What made you come out here and join us?

S: After taking a few years off rugby after I graduated from undergrad, I wanted to get back into rugby and have also always wanted to live in the Bay Area… so I moved out here at the end of 2016 and joined the team. One of the best decisions I’ve made!

 Serena with the D2 team, spring 2017. 

Serena with the D2 team, spring 2017. 

AB: Is there a particular player and/or coach that has influenced your development as a player?  In what way(s) did they help you?

S: I would have to say that I’m still pretty new to the sport and have a lot left to learn. I think all the coaches I have had have influenced me in different ways. Rugby is definitely a sport that can teach you a lot about yourself and life in general. There is a lot of carryover to the real world.

 

AB: Most memorable time with the All Blues?

S: The most memorable times are the ones where you get to know your teammates off the pitch… I’ll just leave it at that.

 All smiles! Photo: Victoria Abrenica

All smiles! Photo: Victoria Abrenica

AB: What skills are you working on/would like to work on right now?

S: Right now I’m really working on improving my defensive skills; working on improving my tackling technique and being able to read the game quicker when on defense. And you know I’m always working on my chip kicks and grubbers…

 Serena doing the kick off during a 2017 summer 7s tournament in Marin. Photo: Victoria Abrenica 

Serena doing the kick off during a 2017 summer 7s tournament in Marin. Photo: Victoria Abrenica 

AB: What is your favorite non-rugby activity? Do you have any passions besides rugby?

S: Does Sunday Touch count as a non-rugby activity with East Bay Vintage Rugby? Haha, but I do love to be outdoors in nature and I think the Bay Area is a great place for that. I love to surf and snowboard and don’t do it enough because of rugby, but I’m okay with that. Oh, and also eating. I love to eat.