Charlotte Thereza Mudoola
Captain Lady Cranes 7’s and 15’s
We have heard this name many times around rugby circles, whether in the stands or on the field; you can’t claim to be a rugby faithful if you haven’t heard or spoken to Charlotte Thereza Mudoola. She is the last of four siblings in what is yet another rugby crazy family. The only girl among four, sports was hard to avoid with all the boys in the family. “……. I had to pick up sports and lucky for me, I was great at it and it stuck with me ” Charlotte boasts.
Growing up, Timothy (Mudoola of Kobs Rugby) and Charlotte were inseparable in that everything he did, she emulated as well. Whether it was playing soccer or running, she wouldn’t hesitate to go ahead and join. Soccer was the first sport she was exposed to, she loved playing on the wing especially No.7 which is very much attributed to her pacey nature and love for David Beckham who was at Manchester United at the time.
The young siblings
Charlotte attended Mt. St. Mary’s College Namagunga for her O’level where she believes her love and talent in sports was harnessed. “……… At that time, I played Volleyball for the school team, the famous VCM Team.” – she then got very much involved in most games and represented her class in almost all events; she played soccer, volleyball, basketball and was a sprinter. Charlotte tried netball, lawn tennis and badminton a well but never took them up as she found them boring after a while.
The Mudoola Family
She was crowned Sports Girl of the year in her senior two which was a record as no one from such a low class had ever won it especially since there were girls from senior classes also indulged in sports. “……..The winner for that award always came from Senior Four or Five.” She adds. “…. sport has always been part of me all my life. I honestly believed I could play any sport if I put my mind to it and excel at it, something I still believe to this day.”
Charlotte’s Rugby Journey
The journey began with brother, Timothy (of course), who introduced rugby in the ‘Mudoola House’ – Timothy was in Namilyango college at that time, she also points out that her other brother, Fred, was talented in sports too and could play anything. “When you see him now, you can’t believe he was great at soccer, cricket, lawn tennis, boxing, swimming and could run” Charlotte says as she laughs to herself.”
Fred picked up rugby eventually despite having been into boxing when Timothy introduced the game to the siblings. So Charlotte had two brothers who loved rugby in the house and she didn’t at first. At the time, she was so much into Volleyball but the bullet that was rugby was one she would fail to dodge with time.
Charlotte with Brother Fred Mudoola
She would watch rugby games in the house every Saturday, sometimes forcefully in the beginning – “I hated it because I would want to watch my own shows but the boys would take over the TV remote. I would sit in a corner, sulk and watch the damn games.” Her rugby journey started without her even being aware of what was going on. Because of her brothers, she kept watching the games every Saturday and started to pick a few things from the sport.
Later, Charlotte went to Vienna College for A level where she met Martin Karugonjo who knew Timothy and Fred. Martin said to her, “you are a Mudoola and you should be able to play rugby or have an idea.” And he invited her to join them in their next session. She showed up for a session with the rugby team and seemed to be fitting in well from the time she touched the ball. “It was so easy that I enjoyed myself” – it was then she realized that she was actually learning the game indirectly on those dreadful Saturday mornings.
Charlotte representing Uganda
Charlotte’s mum tried to get her a volleyball club to play for in her S.6 vacation which coincidentally happened at the same time Timothy informed her about women’s rugby at Kyadondo and tells to try it out. It was at Kyadondo that she found Helen Buteme who welcomed her to the team and never looked back from that moment. PS she never showed up for volleyball practice at the club her mum had gotten her.
She has played for Thunderbirds, Rangers, Black Panthers, Pirates 2 (Sailors).
I am a Lawyer/Advocate of the High Court by profession but work with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau as a Senior Registration Officer – Heading one of the branch offices in Kampala at Posta Uganda). She has also been head of the Arua office which covered all the 9 districts of the West Nile Region for a period of 3 and a half years.
Balancing her time to fit profession and sports
“I think it’s about knowing what you want then finding a balance to ensure it works for you. Plus I keep telling myself no regrets, so i got to do what I love and make it work.”
Favorite rugby moment
“when Uganda qualified and played in the Rugby World Cup in 2009. We were the first team ever in Uganda to qualify and play in a World Cup. Am pretty sure that’s a fact most people don’t know” Charlotte boasts as she laughs.
My worst rugby moment
Charlotte says she has two moments;
First, when she got a major concussion during the World Cup qualifiers and the second, when she fractured her leg and dislocated her ankle at the same time in Botswana during the Women’s 7s.
“The doctors at the hospital thought I would never play again and for a moment I thought so too. I actually thought that was when my parents were going to say enough is enough. Their little girl getting the same injuries as the boys (Fred and Timothy).”
Future rugby aspirations
She wants to see Uganda back at the top – “Uganda Women’s rugby has dropped tremendously and I would love to bring it back to the top. It’s been a hard journey but I can see we are heading in the right direction.”
Charlotte wants to mentor the young girls while playing with them to show what it takes while being an example for them. “……..We are getting there… Olympics is the target……”
Role models in the Sport
“I have quite a number because they inspire me in different ways, My coach Helen Koyokoyo Buteme, Timothy and Fred Mudoola. Internationally, Heather Fisher and Richie McCaw”
Generally in life, she picks inspiration from different people and applies it to her my life. “I learn a lot each day from different people and I am inspired in so many ways by a lot of people.”
Charlotte with brother and Role model; Timothy Mudoola
Favorite rugby players
Locally, she looks up to Timothy Mudoola and not just because he is her brother but for the mark he has made in Uganda both on club and international level.
Internationally, her favorite player is New Zealand women’s Portia Woodman.
Portia Woodman in action
What she would change about rugby if she had the power
Her focus would majorly be on putting more into women’s rugby to push it beyond the normal realms because it has the potential to take rugby in Uganda very far.
Message to the fans
“First I don’t call them my fans, I actually call them my support system. Just want to say thank you for the support. I really appreciate it more than they know and will keep working hard plus put in my best.”
Message to the players
“Rugby is a team sport. Never believe you are bigger than the sport. Work hard and always be a team player. Never take your opponents for granted. Respect your teammates and yourself too. Despite being successful, keep working hard to achieve more and be better than you were before. Despite your experience, learning never ends.