Athlete of the Week: Aaron Earlywine, Rugby


Courtesy of Aaron Earlywine

Athlete of the Week: Aaron Earlywine, Rugby

Addison Drone

Villanova Rugby Club is on the rise, playing in a new conference with better competition, and, as senior captain Aaron Earlywine puts it, there to “take it by storm.” Already 2-0 on the year, Earlywine and the team have big plans for both this season and those to come. 

Earlywine is from Morristown, New Jersey and attended Delbarton for high school. There, he played football and lacrosse before transitioning to rugby his junior year. After his experience playing at Delbarton, he knew that rugby was something he wanted to be a part of his college experience. While he came in with a very direct path, he knows that it was not the same for many of the other players on the team. 

For that reason, Earlywine views his most important role on the team as a recruiter. When I spoke with him, he was coming off of a conversation with a prospective student that was interested in playing rugby at Villanova. He recognized how much the rugby team gave him as an underclassman, and wants to “pay it forward,” a point he continuously echoed in our conversation. 

“You’re doing it for the kid three years from now,” Earlywine said. “You are doing something bigger than yourself.”

His goal is to make this team one that will always be looking to take the next step, whether through moving up conferences to face better competition or continuously recruiting the next wave of Villanova Rugby Club players. They teach the new players how to play the game so they can continue the trend. 

In his words, “[The players] come in without knowing the sport, and they leave as rugby aficionados as seniors.”

When I asked him about the learning curve for the sport, he highlighted the importance of watching pro-rugby and taking the initiative to learn the small rules. The sport is definitely rough, but it is safety minded also, and it is important for players to learn the correct way to tackle. 

As I continued talking with Earlywine, he spoke of his experience as an English major and how he has been able to work for Sports Illustrated (he even had a few articles published) and for a law firm. Additionally, at Villanova, Earlywine is a part of Greek Life and Special Olympics. 

Looking forward, Earlywine is aiming for a career in journalism or in law enforcement with the FBI, ATF, or CIA. He is looking for an active job where there will be something always there for him to pursue, “I want to wake up on Sunday and be excited for work on Monday,” he said. 

Villanova Club Rugby is certainly in good hands, and the team is looking to be a ranked team by the end of the year. They are already playing competitively with teams that have been traditionally ranked. Overall, there is an increasing amount of rugby media, and Earlywine says, “we are in the spotlight.”

As the team improves, he still wants to emphasize the mentality of “paying it forward.” The underclassmen are able to build great bonds with the upperclassmen, and they even have a tradition where the players graduating pass down their shorts to the up and coming players. Additionally, they maintain the rugby culture of camaraderie where opposing teams play competitively before shaking hands, hanging out, and having a good time after the game. The sport brings people together and has offered so much to Earlywine and all his teammates. 

“When I was a freshman, the team was really good to me,” Earlywine recalls. For this reason, he makes it a major initiative to keep the rugby culture and team going strong. 

To validate this point, current freshman player Chris Sernas walked over on our conversation and vouched for Earlywine as “the best captain in the books.”