By Liz Witbeck
Saratoga Rugby Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing rugby for people within the city. There are currently youth rugby teams for children 6 years old and up, competitive teams for high school and college students, and programs for adults.
It was founded in 2005 as a social organization. In a few years, the group has grown into a competitive program that now competes at Division 2 levels. This year, it held the Saratoga Collegiate Cup Sevens tournament.
With the growth of the organization, Eric Huss, vice president of the organization, has been interested in seeking out partnerships with community organizations.
“We are always looking for strategic partnerships. We want a partnership where we can both benefit from each other,” said Huss.
Julie & Co. is the latest company to sign on as a strategic partner with Saratoga Rugby Club. Lars Huss-Skladzinski and Katherine Nemer, both licensed real estate salespeople with Julie & Co, will be collaborating with Saratoga Rugby Club.
“Their brokerage is a perfect fit for our organization,” said Huss. “They are vested in our interest. It’s all about creating personal relationships with people. This partnership is going to make it easy to craft those relationships with Realtors.”
Saratoga Rugby Club already has some ideas planned for how they will collaborate with Julie & Co. Huss estimated that 100 or more of the members of the club are homeowners in the Saratoga Springs community that are looking to buy or sell a home. Julie & Co. will become the official Realtor, helping members with their brokerage needs and providing representation.
There will also be exclusive events for the two businesses, advertising, and cross-promoting of each other’s events, said Huss.
The motto for Saratoga Rugby Club is “Leading Saratoga in Sporting Excellence” and Huss said strategic partnerships such as this one are the key to doing that.
Rugby is purported to be the fastest growing sport in the United States, with number of participants growing 350 percent from 2004 to 2011. Huss said several children joined rugby this year after seeing the sport featured in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“We have rugby for anybody, up through retirement age,” said Huss.
“In a lot of other sports, it’s fractured,” said Huss. “Kids will go and play touch football for a while, then they leave and they find a different sport. We see people from kindergarten up through retiring age. There’s a lot of value in that as an organization.”
Youth rugby ended its schedule in November. High school and older programs start in the spring. For more information, visit saratogarugby.org