Old Glory DC’s Rob Harley catches the ball in the line-out during the team’s home opener on March 16. (TBM / George Berkheimer)

Old Glory DC, one of 12 Major League Rugby teams in the United States, played its first home game on March 16 at its new home field at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Montgomery County. The match ended in a 22:22 tie with the Chicago Hounds, bringing Old Glory’s season record to 1:1:1.

Established in 2018, Old Glory DC moved to the SoccerPlex this year from its previous home field in Leesburg, Va.

The new Maureen Hendrick’s Field at Championship Stadium is intimate, yet expansive, featuring 3,200 fixed seats, a high-use Bermuda grass pitch, and a large, grassy berm for general admission seating.

“The effort in the group was outstanding,” said Simon Cross, head coach of Old Glory DC. “Overall I’m very proud and very happy with the SoccerPlex. This venue is great, the grass is outstanding and the crowd turned up in good numbers.”

The team’s co-owners are Paul Sheehy, owner of Sheehy Auto Stores, and Chris Dunlavey, an architect and president of the Brailsford & Dunlavey program management firm. Sheehy is a former rugby union fullback for the United States whose record includes two starts in the 1991 Rugby World Cup, and Dunlavey is a local club rugby player.

“I think rugby fans are going to love the new stadium we have,” Sheehy said. “It’s a bowl-like design not much higher than field level that puts spectators right in the action. There’s not a bad seat in the house.”

“Our attendance for the first home game was 2,500, and we expect that number to increase as the season progresses,” Dunlavey said.

Old Glory completed the 2023 season with its first MLR playoff appearance, reaching the Eastern Conference championship game. The team’s 2024 home season runs through June 29 and is expected to draw rugby fans from across the Mid-Atlantic region, with many established fans in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The next home game is scheduled on Saturday, March 23, at 4 p.m. against the San Diego Legion. For more information, visit oldglorydc.com.