In the run-up to the second round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Houston, Texas, USA Rugby has announced a new initiative to help identify future Women’s Eagles in both 15s and 7s.
Trials will be held at regional Olympic Eagle Training Centres (OETC) in February to assist the respective outfits in building squad depth for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
The trials are similar to the New Zealand Rugby Union’s own Go4Gold campaign, which was run nationwide and enticed several talented athletes to rugby from rival football codes and also the likes of netball.
An application process will be used to determine which rugby players and cross-over athletes receive invitations to a regional try-out.
“The initiative was founded to really determine the best athletes we have here in the US. So many athletes get overlooked because they don’t have a way to present themselves to national team coaches,” said head coach of the 15-a-side team, Pete Steinberg, who is building to that 2014 World Cup.
“While the Sevens World Cup is this year, we are already looking for athletes that are potential players for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics,” said Ric Suggitt, women’s Sevens head coach.
In order to apply, athletes need to complete the online application, which includes inputting physical assessment data, a rugby and athletic performance history, and coach’s recommendation (if applicable). After all application data has been reviewed invitations will be extended to the distinguished athletes.
The application can be filled out through the Become an Eagle tab on both the Women’s Eagles and Women’s Eagles Sevens pages on the USA Rugby website >>.
Once at the OETC, the invited athletes will train alongside current Eagle pool players in various activities and assessments. Further invitations will be issued on a performance basis during the initial weekend.
Locations for OETC camps include Amherst (MA), State College (PA), Atlanta (GA), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Palo Alto (CA), and San Diego(CA).
The OETC camp will be held at all regional locations at the end of February (actual dates for each OETC to be announced). Subsequent camps have been tentatively scheduled for March and April and the final two camps will be only for athletes selected by the coaching staff.
“We are always looking for the next generation,” added Suggitt. “The Olympic Eagle Training Centres are the first step for an athlete that wants to represent Team USA in the Olympics,” said Suggitt.
15s Upcoming Events
Top 60 Elite Performance Series – May 18-26
3 Test Matches vs France – June (Dates TBA)
Nations Cup – July 27- August 11th
7s Olympic Development Programme
Location: Chula Vista
NASC – August 12-18
Elite Pathway Camp – September 12-15
Olympic Dare to Dream Camp – October 07-12
Elite Pathway Camp – October 17-25
Elite Pathway Camp – November 07-10