Friday, July 11, 2014

Canada Player Profiles: Elvy Asonye

Elvy wins Most Valuable Back

Elvy came to the Stars as one of the first players to respond when we put out the player nomination call back in February. She comes hails originally from Chicago and shares a Midwest rugby background at University of Illinois so we quickly started playing the "who do we both know" game as several of my club teammates played at U of I and I had coached against their men on several occasions. It's a small rugby world after all!

Elvy is an accomplished and disciplined player that made an impact on our Stars tour. Her performances at training on Thursday and Friday earned her a spot on the women's first side and she showed strong finishing speed on the pitch. Her tenacity even earned her a special jersey at our Kangaroo Court!

Even more impressive is that Elvy is currently serving in the US Navy, earning her Master's degree, and is giving back to the game of rugby as a referee. She's a student in life and still a student of the game.

On the Pitch for Norfolk
Here's her story:

I started playing rugby my freshman year of college back in 2005 at the University of Illinois, after I realized that our Division 1 and club soccer teams would be a little too time demanding while I was enrolled in the NROTC program. It was probably a better decision because I would commission as a Naval Officer and still got to enjoy playing a sport in college that was just as social as it was competitive.  

While at the University of Illinois I won Rookie of the Year in Spring 2006 and Most Valuable Back in 2009. Before making the big move out to the west coast, I was first stationed in Norfolk, VA where I played with the Norfolk Storm for four years as a wing, fullback, and center. I think I’ve made a home as a center playing with the Seahawks, but anywhere I’m allowed to run to my heart’s content I will gladly play!
VA 7s against Stars teammate Josie's NOVA team.

Being in the military has made it difficult to have complete consistency in my life, but the one constant has always been rugby and the team I played for. My coach was a retired Naval Officer so she served to be mentor in both arenas of my work- and athletic-life. My last year playing in Norfolk in 2013, I was voted MVP and held the leading scorer title. 

Our team was still developing a 7s side the last few summers I was there, but I only managed to play one summer and practice during a second summer before my move to California.

I’m currently stationed at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, CA studying to get a Master’s of Science in Management and have been commuting up to San Jose for the last year to play with the San Jose Seahawks. I moved last June just in time for the start of last year’s 7s season, and had a successful first year of a developed 15s side. While our team is still very new, a lot of the girls have played with other women’s teams in the past so it is just a matter of honing our talents and continue to gel well together – which I am sure will come quickly in time. I was just named Most Valuable Back now that we’ve recently wrapped up our 15s season before we get into the full swing of 7s Qualifiers season.

Palo Alto 7s with San Jose Seahawks
While playing is still my #1 passion, I became a certified referee in November 2013 and have Nor Cal Youth Rugby tournaments and some collegiate women's games as well. It has definitely helped me to see the game in a different way, and notice all the intricacies that typically a backline player does not know (or sadly, care) about during the game.  I know most referees usually do so because they are too injured, but I do plan on refereeing a lot more during the 7s season to fine tune my skills for the 15s season as a referee and player. 

I’m greatly looking forward to playing with the Stars Rugby 7s team! Getting to play at a higher level, and meet more people with a similar passion to play is one of the best things I can as for in a summer 7s season.

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