Phaidra Knight, the third-most capped Women’s Eagle in history, announced her retirement from international rugby ahead of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.
Knight, from Irwinton, Georgia, began to play rugby after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Alabama State University with dual Bachelor’s degrees in Speech Communications and Political Science. Upon graduation, she pursued a degree at University of Wisconsin School of Law and also began playing rugby. During her 18-year international rugby career, she played in three Women’s Rugby World Cups and was part of the USA Women’s Eagles player pool leading up to the WRWC2017.
Knight spoke with USA Rugby indicating that “It has been an honor to wear the USA jersey over the past 18 years. I have evolved tremendously as both a student of the game and life. Nothing is more satisfying than leaving the game in a better place than it was when I arrived.”
Knight first played with the Eagles in August 1999, where the team defeated Canada. She made 35 appearances in her career for the USA at both prop and flanker. She was named to the All-World Team for her performance in both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and after her third World Cup inclusion in 2010, she was named ‘Player of the Decade.” She also was part of the All-World Team that played the New Zealand Black Ferns in 2003.
In club level play, Knight was a member of the New York Rugby Club and there won the 2006 Division I title and 2009 and 2010 Women’s Premier League titles. She has also been the forwards coach at Princeton University from 2016-16 and is currently Monroe College’s women’s rugby head coach.
Away from the Eagles, Knight helped turn New York Rugby Club into a National Championship contender, winning a Division I title with NYRC in 2006 and Women’s Premier League titles in 2009 and 2010. She also served as the forwards coach at Princeton University from 2015 to 2016 and as a fitness coach at Columbia University throughout her time in the area, and currently, leads Monroe College’s women’s rugby team as head coach.
In 2010, after participating in her third World Cup. Phaidra decided that other challenges needed to be explored. These included both CrossFit and bobsledding. Both assisted in her journey which developed both self-awareness and contributed to her self-development.
Her tryout for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games bobsled team precluded her participation in the 2014 World Cup., but she was part of the Eagles 2017 World Cup pool, making her final Eagles appearance in April against Canada.
With her retirement from international play, she will still be involved with the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup as part of the NC broadcast team.
I have previously interviewed Phaidra Knight along with Bryan Cornelis, where she discussed sacrifices made as an athlete and her desire to have played in the World Cup Sevens. Read the February 2 and February 28 interviews by clicking on the links.
Rugby is a lifestyle and her contributions to the game will continue. She has been named to the USA Rugby Board of Directors as an International Athlete Representative where she focused on creating a sustainable model for support of women’s athletes and player welfare for international athletes. She also will continue her community outreach in promoting the game of rugby.