The Lehigh Valley Rugby Football Club is a non-profit corporation. Founded in 1998 (see timeline below) the Club represents men's and women's rugby in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. The Club also takes an oversight role for the High School and Youth teams. The men's team are full members of the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union (EPRU), our local area union. The LVRFC teams are also members territorially through the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union (MARFU) and nationally through USA Rugby. As such, each team is eligible to compete in all National Qualifying matches.
TIMELINE for RUGBY IN THE LEHIGH VALLEY
Submitted by players and organizers including Emil Signes, Bob Gotthardt, Dave Snyder, Dan Benedict and Mark Case 2009.
•Circa 1963 – Lehigh U. had a club side, coached by Ray Bell [Centennial School], and President Rod Grubb. Moravian College also had intramural rugby play.
•1966 – Allentown ‘Blues’ form to play exhibition match with Lehigh [lost 14-11]. Rusty D’Arconte introduces game to Bob Gotthardt and Butch Devers. Note USA Rugby not formed until 1975.
•November 1966 – Bob Gotthardt registers ARFC [Allentown Rugby Football Club] with the ERU [Eastern Rugby Union] President Ed Lee; meeting takes place at Holiday Inn in Fogelsville.
•1967 – First full season for Allentown Blues in ERU, local interest grows quickly.
•1968 – Allentown Blues draw much local talent. Emil Signes joins the club and by 1970 they were fielding 3 competitive sides - A B & C.
•1971 – Growth continues. Allentown Blues Rugby Club is a founding member club as the EPRU forms. Emil Signes elected first Treasurer.
•1971–74 – Jim Thorpe 4th of July rugby tournaments and campouts with players from Allentown, Harrisburg and Bethlehem.
•1974 - Bethlehem Hooligans form
•1976 - EPRU Cup Champions, 1980 - EPRU Champions, 1981 - Mid-Atlantic Champions
•1977 Southside formed by Larry Shea - Southside plays very competitive rugby and eventually moved up to Division 1, decides to merge back with Bethlehem who were also in Division 1.
•1978 – Allentown expands with players from Reading and wins 3 games in Bahamas.
•1979 – Reading Rugby Club forms from Allentown.
•1984 Bethlehem RFC
1985 USA 3rd place 7s
1987 ERU 7s champions (ERU was later split to NRU, MARFU, South)
1990 EPRU champions 15s
•1990 Allentown Blues – Division 3 Champions.
•1996 to 1998 both Allentown and Bethlehem are dwindling in numbers, with players getting older.
•1998 meeting called with Allentown and Bethlehem and they merge to form Lehigh Valley.
•2001 - 2003 Lehigh Valley Old Boys compete in Allentown SportsFest and in 2002 beat Philadelphia Whitemarsh in a game at J Birney Crumb Stadium with over 500 people in attendance. As part of SportsFest a youth development camp is formed to attract younger players to the game.
•2004 - Allentown Youth and High school team is developed and organized by Dan Benedict. The team wins High School Championships in 2005 & 2006.
•2007 Lehigh Valley 7s in National Sweet 16, coached by Joe Morrison and Emil Signes.
•2008 LVRFC agrees to take an oversight role for the Youth and High School team.
•2008 – 2009 Men’s Club fields two strong sides in local and regional competition. New coach from New Zealand, Al Harris with existing coaches Kip Desch and Reno Pesaresi help the team get to the MARFU playoffs in 2009 and 2010. In 2009 the side beats a virtually unbeaten Virginia RFU side in Charlottesville. The team loses the following week to Harrisburg in .
•2010 – Men's club takes the Name of Hooligans and the Highschool team takes the name of Blue Hooligans.
_ 2010 Men's Team beats West Potomac to make the MARFU Semifinals where they lose to Old Gealic and beat Warrenton for 3rd Place in MARFU Div. III.