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Jinnie Pratt: Rugby USA Collegiate All-American

Jinnie Pratt: Rugby USA Collegiate All-American

27/03/2014, USA, Multi Sports, DreamFuel, Article # 1811014


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Jinnie Pratt is tough.

I mean, of course she is; she's one of the best young female rugby players around. But beyond her strengths on the field, Jinnie is a survivor. She grew up in an abusive household, bouncing between foster homes, group homes, and her grandmother's overcrowded house. When she did wind up staying with her mother and stepfather, it wasn't a warm welcome -- after coming out of the closet at seventeen, she was tossed out. Despite all this, Jinnie finished high school with high marks and earned a music scholarship to Texas Tech.

Life didn't get any easier for her after leaving home, either; she transferred to the University of Oklahoma but a broken finger meant the end of her music scholarship. Luckily, she had discovered rugby back in Texas and was hooked. Jinnie balances being a full time student and up-and-coming rugby superstar. She plays on the University of Oklahoma's club team and has played on Select Side teams for the Heart of America (Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma territory) for two years as a starter.

She was nominated as a Collegiate All-American this past year and was selected to play for the West All-Star 7s team at the Olympic Training Center back in August. Additionally, Jinnie has been selected to compete in the Liberty Cup Rugby Tournament in Manhattan in June and relocate for the summer to play with the Old Blues Women's Rugby 7s Academy, an elite rugby program with top of the line training facilities and world class coaches, as well as attend an Elite Residency Camp at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego. 

Despite all this, Jinnie struggles to pay for her basic living costs. Her eventual goal is to become an Eagle and play for the women's national team -- can you chip in and help her soar?


Jinnie Pratt: Rugby USA Collegiate All-American

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Gioanna Cruz: From the South Bronx to Rio

Gioanna Cruz: From the South Bronx to Rio

27/03/2014, USA, Multi Sports, DreamFuel, Article # 1811013




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Growing up in the South Bronx, Gioanna Cruz always dreamed of getting out and becoming a superstar athlete. “I was daddy’s girl and very close to my younger brother, and we were all really into football,” she says. “My goal for a long time was to be the first female player in the NFL.”

Gioanna’s dream changed a bit, though, when she discovered rugby during her sophomore year of high school at the Bronx Studio School. She loved that she could continue to play contact sports but not be judged for her gender, and her dedication to rugby spread to other areas of her life, including her schoolwork. “It allowed me to get away from all the family drama,” she says. “It made me want to work harder and show people that sport can make you a better person.”

Now a student at the American International College in Springfield, MA, Gioanna is a rising star on a rising team. Her coach plays on the national team and the school’s rugby program was recently upgraded from Division II to Division I status. Gioanna was also noticed by the national coach and invited to train with the national team at the Olympic training center in San Diego. She is raising money to cover the cost the of attending the camp this summer.


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