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Meet Elona Williams of ICEF Rugby in South-Central Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elona Williams.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started playing basketball when I was just two years old and loved everything about it. When I heard about rugby for the first time, I was intrigued but, I could not be convinced to play and did not think any other sport could be worth my time. It was not until my 8th grade English teacher (the Founder of ICEF Rugby) and friends talked me into trying out that I began playing and fell in love with the sport. Each year ICEF rugby takes selected scholar-athletes on a National and International trip to learn leadership skills, ambassadorship, and experience a different culture/environment while playing rugby in high-level tournaments. Since age 13, I have traveled outside of South-Central LA to Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Iowa, Minnesota, Arkansas, Texas, San Diego, Santa Barbara, North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, the Bay Area, Oregon, Seattle, Florida, New York, Atlanta, Kansas, The United Kingdom, France, China, and Barbados just to name a few. Rugby has taken me many places and is a big part of who I am today. The journey has not been easy, I have constantly had to fight for every bit of recognition and respect as a top-level Elite athlete. This past season, I was receiving more attention than ever from the entire rugby community and that in itself brought upon unique challenges of being a black, female, poor athlete.

My experiences with racism, sexism, agism, jealousy, manipulation, fans, and haters were heightened more than ever before. It was exhausting to say the least…After a year and a half long struggle, I finally was able to get a break from it all. I reached back home, to my good friend Lisa Finegan, for any internship opportunities and was instead introduced to the prospects of becoming an assistant coach and applying to grad school for my masters and teaching credentials in partnership with ICEF. It was as though all my prayers and struggles had been answered in two-days time. I coached this past season, worked full-time at the high school as an Intervention Specialist with the SPED Department, and am now in the rigorous grad program, feeling a though I have found my true purpose. It was no coincidence that I wound up safe at home and away from the drama and hardships before America was hit with two major pandemics. I am committed to activism, mentorship, and building my community by helping the next generation in every way that I can, now more than ever.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Biggest challenge, though, was realizing how much certain people did not care about my life, struggles, or traumatic experiences and only cared for my popularity, athletic abilities, and what I could do to make them look good.

Please tell us about ICEF Rugby.
I am so proud of the ICEF Rugby program because of what it has done for thousands of black and brown kids just like myself. The program and its people are truly like family. We currently call ourselves the Dream Team because our main coaching staff is comprised of our rugby legend/Founder, our OG baller from England, our Irish rugby star and liaison, myself and a few other very amazing alumni! ICEF Rugby is the gift that keeps on giving. No matter where I go or for how long, I have always had this home to come back to. I have benefited and gained experiences from traveling, coaching, ambassadorship, recommendations, collegiate preparation, scholarships to get me through school and so much more. This program is truly unique and very special.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My determination, ambition, sticktoitiveness/perseverance, competitiveness, and people skills.

Contact Info:

  • Email: skrohn@icefps.org
  • Instagram: icefps_athletics
  • Facebook: ICEF Athletics

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