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So, What Is the CORD Academy?

Date: December 7, 2017

Author: Leana Marton

From its early beginnings five years ago (and it was early - we ran initially at 7 am!) and its meagre numbers, the CORD Academy has stuck to its mandate:

To provide weekly off-season coaching in the 15's and 7's game to local youth players, providing these players  with some 5,000+ touches on the ball, with a ratio of one coach to 10 players.

Players run both outdoors and indoors in the academy, training once-a-week over five months.  The photo is of the TORA 7's team that won the U16 division in Kamloops in October.  Nine of those players are from the CORD Academy.

The brainchild of CORE’s Director of Excellence, Barry Ebl, the program has had two coaches at the helm from the get-go, Dean Bortolon and Leana Marton.  As coach Dean puts it, "The academy has seen an evolution from what do we do with six kids, to what are we going to do with 30?"

The program tries to keep the players engaged in an environment that incorporates game relatable drills and situations reinforced in fun, modified games.  Coaches use the "piece, whole, piece, whole" philosophy.  Players develop skills tied to Rugby Canada National Themes, empowering players to improve skills, think critically, understand the game and execute rugby skills under pressure.

New to the program's coaching staff is Scott Stewart.  Scott initially traveled from Grand Forks each week to bring his son Matt to the program.   He has now become a welcome addition to the CORD Academy coaching staff.   As Scott says, "Matt loves coming each week, he has felt welcomed by the group, has started to build friendships, and is learning something new with each session.  It has helped him build a love for the game and he is hopeful to earn a spot on the TORA U14 squad in the spring".

The CORE Academy changed its name to the Central Okanagan Rugby Development Academy two years ago.  The program has continued the development of the players first exposed to touch rugby with the Crows Mini-Touch Rugby program in the spring or the touch league that runs in local schools. Many CORD players have gone on to represent the Thompson Okanagan Rugby Association (TORA), our regional representative team.  Many have also been selected to British Columbia provincial teams. 

Currently, CORD has 32 registered athletes and continues to draw more.  16 boys and girls also participated in the U12 program this fall.  CORD Academy athletes just spent their past two sessions running with the local BC Academy players in the H20 Dome.

Coach Leana hopes that someday soon one of the CORD kids will crack the Canada squad.  Until then, CORD will continue to exude its love of rugby to its players.   Leana adds,“Our program benefits from the many generous donors who continue to support this rugby youth program.  Thanks to their annual contributions, the CORD Academy is accessible to every player who wants to develop their rugby skills!”

If you are interested in the CORD Academy, contact Barry Ebl. (

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