Play Rugby USA’s Community Olympic Development Program to Debut at NAI7s
July 27, 2016;
Earlier this year, the U.S. Olympic Committee sanctioned its first ever Rugby specific Community Olympic Development Program (CODP) under the direction of Play Rugby USA (PRUSA) in partnership with the Northeast Academy. The first two U18 squads born of that initiative will make their elite tournament debuts next week at the North American Invitational 7s (NAI7s) in Salt Lake City, UT.
The densely packed field of talent at NAI7s includes many of the best programs in USA Rugby’s Academy system. Teams like Eagle Impact Rugby Academy, Atavus, Atlantis, Rhino Academy and the Utah Lions have a number of tours under their belts already and are widely known to carry All-American talent among their ranks.
For Play Rugby USA, the talent level should certainly be in the same realm. Four of their women’s players have been called into duty for the US High School All-Americans on the same weekend in Quebec. Both of the Play Rugby teams have been training alongside and with the Northeast Academy senior assemblies since June.
The team’s focus however will be on its own metrics. Ryszard Chadwick, Play Rugby USA Boys Head Coach explained, “This is our first tour so we want to make sure that we stick to our philosophy and game plan. Hit our performance standards and we will be successful.” Chadwick’s reference echoes the philosophies of other high performance pathway coaches. The theme being to play what is there, perform within each moment and develop a constancy of task accomplishments, or wins.
Play Rugby’s founder and CEO, Mark Griffin will also be on hand in Utah and is glad to see the first PRUSA assembly in action against such a competitive field. “The CODP designation primarily reflects our outreach supporting urban schools and youth organizations – through the activation and ongoing development of both youth and adult coaches. The objective of our mission is to help young people realize their true potential through rugby; for some, that means representing their country. So part of our responsibility is to provide those aspirational and talented athletes with a pathway to elite levels of competition. The CODP teams achieve this both for youth within the PRUSA school and community network and through coach referrals from the broader youth and high school community. As such, we have a very diverse team gelling together and I’m extremely excited to see how they perform at such a high level event.”
The rebirth of the NAI7s event in 2016 is certain to be a great precursor to the Olympic Games in Rio. Highlighting the next generation of stateside rugby talent as it begins its ascent to first tier of rugby nations.
Play Rugby USA U18 Elite Girls at NAI7s
Susan Adegoke (PRUSA) – Julianna Aliprandi (Morris) – Malery Billingy (PRUSA) – Megan Bird (Wisconsin) – Calaysha Byrd (PRUSA) – Tamly Cowen (Morris) – Kye Harris (PRUSA) – Kelsey Joyce (Morris) – Mia Lancellotti (Union) – Emily McHugh (Morris) – Allie Mennella (Morris) – Mahdia Parker (NYRC)
Coaches: Tom Feury and James English
Play Rugby USA U18 Elite Boys at NAI7s
Damon Anderson (Xavier) – Connor Buckley (Xavier) – Gabe Castro (PRUSA) – Kamari Charles (PRUSA) – Jack dePoortere (Ridge) – Ben Ehlers (Fairfield) – Noah Geltman (PRUSA) – Ryan Hercules (PRUSA) – Rory Kinsella (Xavier) – Nathan Salter (Xavier) – Eion Sanservo (Xavier) – James Spence (PRUSA)
Coaches: Ryszard Chadwick and Seamus Kelly
Trainer: KJ Feury
CEO, Founder and Team Manager: Mark Griffin
The Northeast 7s Academy, with training squads in New York City, Boston and Buffalo is a National Development Academy sanctioned by USA Rugby as the official Academy (for Men & Women) in the Northeast region of the United States, making it a designated pathway to the USA Eagles National Team selection. The purpose of the Academy is to identify, develop and prepare Sevens rugby players with the intention of placing ambitious athletes onto the USA National teams and future USA Olympic teams. The Academy will provide athletes with top level coaching, physical preparation, and playing competition to accelerate their personal development as Sevens players in line with current USA Eagles High Performance criteria.