USA Rugby to Offer 23 Fulltime Player Contracts
- A USA Rugby and USOC partnership will allow USA Rugby to provide 23 rugby sevens athletes (15 men, 8 women) with fulltime training contracts in January 2012
- The 23 athletes will live near and have fulltime access to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
- Both the men's and women's sevens teams will compete in more international tournaments in 2012
- There will be expanded training opportunities for USA Rugby's All-Americans at the Olympic Training Center
Fifteen men and eight women will receive contracts which will provide monthly stipends, meals, world-class training facilities, and high-performance support services at the OTC, marking a crucial step on rugby's journey to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"As we prepare as a nation for Rio 2016, making our men's and women's sevens teams fulltime is a crucial step for our sport," said USA Rugby CEO, Nigel Melville.
"There are so many advantages to living and training in a high-performance environment year round - fulltime coaches, trainers, dieticians, sports psychologists, and so on - it really is necessary if the USA are to be on the rugby podium in 2016."
The athletes will live off-site but nearby the OTC with fulltime access to training and recovery facilities, high-performance specialists, and of course, coaches.
In the 2011-2012 season, the Men's Eagle Sevens team will play in 11 tournaments. The team has already claimed a bronze medal for Team USA at the 2011 Pan American Games in October. Their remaining fixtures include the North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens and the nine-tournament HSBC Sevens World Series.
"The USOC is a fantastic partner to have on our journey to 2016. They have been very supportive of our national teams and are also invested in developing American rugby athletes for 2016 and beyond," Melville added.
While the contracted players will enjoy the excellent OTC facilities year round, high-performance training opportunities will also be extended to USA Rugby's All-American athletes at the high school, under-20, and college levels, an added benefit to rugby's new status with the USOC.