The Emil Signes Cup
In 2017, the display trophy for the Club 7s National Championship was named in honor of Emil Signes. Winning teams receive smaller, year-specific versions of the cup but all winners are honored on the primary trophy alongside the score and location of their triumph. The trophy primarily resides in the entry of the USA Rugby national office but is sent outside the office for Sevens promotional opportunities throughout the year. At the time of the trophy's dedication, the following was announced to attendees of the event, which was also published on the USA Rugby website:
"USA Rugby celebrates Emil Signes for his monumental influence in the growth and development of Rugby 7s for the men and women of the United States of America.
An early pioneer of the 7s code, and a tireless advocate for the promotion of 7s both domestically and worldwide, Mr. Signes’s importance to Rugby 7s cannot be understated.
Often referred to as “The Emperor,” Emil began coaching rugby in 1974 - coaching at all levels, and for all sexes. In his time as a coach and technical advisor, Mr. Signes accumulated 126 championships, including the successful winning of the 1999 Men’s Club 7s National Championship with Philadelphia Whitemarsh.
Mr. Signes is most often known for his long-time affiliation with the 7s program he founded, Atlantis Rugby, as well as his roles as both the Men’s National 7s Team head coach from 1987 to 1990 and the Women’s National 7s Team head coach from 1996 to 2005.
Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Signes also had an historic impact on the expansion of Sevens worldwide by his early advocacy of treating women with the same respect the men received. Not only was Mr. Signes the first Women’s 7s National Team coach, but he also founded the first national women’s sevens program *and* is credited with inspiring the organization of women’s Sevens tournaments internationally.
As American rugby journalist and historian Alex Goff once wrote,
“Rugby would not be an Olympic sport without the women, and women would not have an international sevens presence were it not for one man – Emil Signes”
Mr. Signes is beloved by a large network of former players and coaches – including many players who went on to become national sevens teams coaches themselves.
It is for these reasons – and more – and that USA Rugby honors and recognizes Emil Signes. From 2017 forward, the championship trophy for the USA Rugby Men’s and Women’s Club 7s National Championships will be known as the EMIL SIGNES CUP. "