The purpose of the Academy is to build the future of NOLA Gold



NOLA Gold Academy Development Program - What is the Academy?

 The NOLA Gold Academy objective is to provide a coaching, conditioning, and educational programs to enhance and improve the performance of potential elite rugby players. The goal of each Academy athlete is to become a full-time professional rugby player.

Players selected to the Gold Academy will be directed into a personal development program that is focused primarily on ensuring that his capabilities as a rugby player are maximized. Our athletes are supported by Academy staff, specialist coaches, and other professionals appointed by our Academy Director. All areas of physical, technical, tactical, and psychological development will be supported as well as game understanding, and video analysis. A competitive program will be tailored to each player to maximize individual growth and progress.

The Academy Director will work closely with the relevant school or club to ensure each player is monitored thoroughly. Academy players will only be required to play for teams/squads that provide levels of competitive exposure appropriate for this development. As a feeder club, Academy athletes will have an immediate option of playing locally with New Orleans Rugby Football Club or NOLA Gold U23 if age permits.

The Gold Academy will ensure that all athletes realize the importance of pursuing their education while fostering their development as a rugby player. The best rugby players are those who can apply themselves over a number of disciplines. Education/employment targets will be set upon registration and must be met by all athletes.

Gold Academy athletes will have the opportunity to get 100% college tuition funded by the Louisiana Air National Guard. (Link for details coming shortly!)

Players looking to enter our Academy can do so in a variety of ways:
  - Attend any open tryout held by NOLA Gold
   - Perform well at club level
   - Nominated by club coaches or representative coaches
   - Register for selection using our expression of interest form
   - Graduate through our youth level and partners at Louisiana Rugby


The Academy will begin 9am on Monday, November 5, 2018 and the final day of intake will be October 1, 2018. We ask that our expression of interest form is completed to be eligible for selection.

Questions? Visit our Academy FAQs page.

For more information or questions, please contact


Expression of Interest:

* Required


Meet our Academy Director | Taylor Howden

Taylor is the Captain of NOLA Gold's First XXIII and doubles as the organization's Academy Coordinator. Taylor is a 27-year veteran of rugby; he began his career at the famous Central Auckland rugby club Ponsonby -where he played his junior rugby until he attended Mount Albert Grammar School and Auckland Grammar School. Taylor moved to the USA in 2006 to be closer to his family and found a home in Denver, Colorado where he spent 8 years playing for the storied Denver Barbos. It was at this club where Taylor began his coaching accreditation’s while still playing and aiding with the inclusion of the Barbos to the Pacific Rugby Premiership. In 2014, rugby took Taylor to Columbus, Ohio to join up with American rugby powerhouse Tiger Rugby. He took on the role as Technical Skills Coordinator along with the head coaching position at the Columbus Rugby Club, a Division 1 Men’s side within the Midwest Rugby Union. In 2016 Taylor made his professional debut with the Ohio Aviators in Pro Rugby. Taylor now lives in New Orleans with his partner Alexis and their son, William.



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