Residents added to USA Rugby programs at Olympic Training Center

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - USA Rugby has announced the updated list of athletes contracted at the United States Olympic Committee's Olympic Training Center in southern California for the Men's and Women's Eagles Sevens programs.

Forty-four Residents are training full-time in Chula Vista with the goal of being selected to one of the 12-player Team USA sides for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games, the first to feature Rugby Sevens. Both teams qualified for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad at the 2015 NACRA Sevens Championships earlier this year, and will have a full 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series during which they can prepare against fellow Olympic-qualified nations.

Nate Augspurger has previously spent time at the OTC and on tour with the Eagles Sevens as a contracted athlete, and enters the full-time setup with coaches Mike Friday and Chris Brown having improved at Northeast Academy, part of USA Rugby's Olympic Development Academy.

Martin Iosefo entered the sevens scene at the 2014 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship with Chicago Lions and garnered the interest of the Eagles coaching staff as a member of the USA Rugby AIG Men's Collegiate All-American Sevens before earning his first cap at Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens in 2014.

Throughout Friday's tenure as head coach of the Eagles, dozens of remote athletes have been called to High Performance Camps at the OTC. Several saw match time with the USA Falcons at the inaugural Halloween Rugby 7s invitational tournament and went head-to-head with the USA Hawks, made up of Residency athletes.

Though there are only a few new additions to the men's program, Friday and the coaching staff pride the selection process for tours, having monthly Camps at the OTC, an extensive scouting network, and a responsive community assisting USA Rugby's Olympic gold efforts.

"The changes made in the sevens pathway via the National Development Academies, along with the improvements in the college sevens game, have added significantly to the competition for spots on the national team," USA Rugby Director of Performance Alex Magleby said. "The increased competitive minutes in tournaments above the club level, via the ODA work, Elite City Sevens, RugbyTown Sevens, and Halloween 7s, for example, is creating more parity closer to the top of the player pyramid."

(L-R) Ashley Perry and Nia Williams  |   Brian Achenbach

The hire of Dr. Jules McCoy as head coach of the Women's Eagles Sevens was bound to bring personnel change, and a number of female athletes have been added to the Residency program, including capped Eagles Carmen Farmer, Irene Gardner, and Jessica Javelet.

Rachel Griendling and Ashley Perry were coached by McCoy at American Rugby Pro Training Center in Little Rock, Ark., and won a Club 7s National Championship with the NDA's side in Des Moines. Their acclimation to the OTC has been accelerated due to the full-time environment in Arkansas, which has also produced capped Eagles in the 15s game.

Younger athletes like Richelle Stephens and Nia Williams - All-American representatives at multiple age-grade levels - will push teammates that have been at the OTC in previous years for roster spots, while pacey Olympic bobsledder Emily Azevedo brings her knowledge of the Games to the program.

"We looked to add some decision makers and speed this go around, players who might play their way in based on our new approach to the game for the Series," McCoy said. "Hunter [Griendling] and Ashley have been in full-time residency at ARPTC, which mimics the OTC and its resources, so they have filled in nicely. Nia Williams and Jessica Javelet are very threatening runners who have the gas to finish tries for us.

"We will add one or two more by the end of the year, as well. Overall, the level of athleticism and speed has risen overnight - it's going to be a fun ride for us all."

Hired in September, McCoy has worked with the retained coaching staff as well as Friday and Brown at the OTC to raise the intensity and improve on the fifth-place finish the Eagles had to the 2014-15 Women's Sevens Series. With more athletes at the OTC and Rio qualification secured, the Eagles can focus on the on-the-pitch product.

"Both programs have been doing the difficult conditioning work needed this preseason to attempt to peak by next August," Magleby said. "Months in the desert grinding away--it is a challenge many of the players have embraced. The next couple of weeks will be exciting as both teams transition to 'compete mode' for Dubai Sevens."

The Women's Sevens Series kicks off in Dubai Dec. 3, a day prior to the men's tournament. Pools and rosters for the opening legs of the respective Series will be announced prior to the teams leaving for United Arab Emirates.

  • Men's Eagles Sevens | Coaching Staff
  • Mike Friday - Head Coach
  • Chris Brown - Assistant Coach / Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Phil Greening - Assistant Coach
  • Brian Green - Physiotherapist
  • Paul Goulding - Analyst
  • Sarah Sall - Massage Therapist
  • Nick Tricarico - Manager
  • Yvonne Parkhurst - High Performance Team Services Manager
  • 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series | Calendar
  • Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens - Dec. 4-5, 2015
  • Cape Town Sevens - Dec. 12-13, 2015
  • HSBC Wellington Sevens - Jan. 30-31, 2016
  • HSBC Sydney Sevens - Feb. 6-7, 2016
  • USA Sevens - March 4-6, 2016
  • HSBC Canada Sevens - March 12-13, 2016
  • Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens - April 8-10, 2016
  • HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens - April 16-17, 2016
  • Paris Sevens - May 13-15, 2016
  • HSBC London Sevens - May 21-22, 2016
  • Women's Eagles Sevens | Coaching Staff
  • Jules McCoy - Head Coach
  • Richie Walker - Assistant Coach
  • Jared Siegmund - Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Nicole Titmas - Head Athletic Trainer
  • JoAnne Kos - Manager
  • Yvonne Parkhurst - High Performance Team Services Manager
  • 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series| Calendar
  • Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens - Dec. 3-4, 2015
  • Brazil Women's Sevens - Feb. 20-21, 2016
  • Atlanta 7s - April 8-9, 2016
  • Canada Women's Sevens - April 16-17, 2016