All-American squads named for Can-Am Series in Ottawa

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - The rosters for USA Rugby's age-grade National Teams have been selected for the August 1-7 Can-Am Series to be held in Ottawa, Ontario.

Farrah Douglas' Girls High School All-Americans powered by Atavus (under-18) and Wil Snape's AIG Women's Junior All-Americans (under-20) are set to face their Canadian counterparts in two matches apiece on the campus of University of Ottawa. For the GHSAAs, this Series will serve as their first full internationals, having only played provincial sides in XVs beyond an extensive sevens schedule. The WJAAs, in their most recent competition, swept Canada's under-20s in Bellingham, Wash., in 2015.

"The squad is looking forward to the challenge of playing what will be a strong and equally-talented Canadian side," Douglas said. "One of our main objectives with the Can-Am Series is to continue to expose our age-grade players to high-level competition as we look a long-term player development within the current pathway.

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"We are seeing a number of former GHSAA players in the under-20 player pool, with our Kayla Canett - capped internationally in sevens and just named to the Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 squad - being our most recent success story."

The Can-Am Series will finish just before the start of the senior World Cup in Ireland, where Canett and 27 teammates will face reigning World Champion England, Italy, and Spain in pool play. University of Ottawa's Gee-Gees Field is the setting for the four age-grade matches the first week of August, beginning with the GHSAAs' first international Tuesday, Aug. 1. The under-18s finish their slate Saturday, Aug. 5, between the two under-20 match days Aug. 3 and 7.

More than 70 female athletes attended separate selection camps at Grande Sports Academy in Casa Grande, Ariz., at the end of June in hopes of earning spots on one of the National Teams. More than a handful of those athletes had already worn the U.S. jersey in international play, and helped to set the tone for the training environment in harsh temperatures. Taking the field in the morning and evening to avoid the heat as much as possible, the athletes benefitted from extended unit skill and vide analysis sessions during daylight hours.

"The players showed a great ability to adapt, which bodes really well for the Can-Ams," Snape said. "The video analysis and indoor unit skills really helped to accelerate learning around game understanding and team play. Players really seized the opportunity to show their talents and created the hardest selection decisions we've had to make as a group of coaches.

"The combined Series gives us a great opportunity to build consistency and fluidity in the pathway. Farrah, Pete Steinberg, and I have been in constant communication in discussing players moving up and down the pathway to maximize their development. For the players it means we can continue to push them and help them grow as leaders within the age-grades. The strength of the pathway is proven by the fact we can move players through the system."

Seventeen of the 25 players named to the WJAAs - including Emily Henrich, who will also be eligible for the GHSAAs should unavailability necessitate it - have represented their country as GHSAAs. Twelve of those 17 currently play collegiately at institutions like College XVs Championship Semifinalists Brigham Young University and Life University, while Central Washington University has five players in the squad.

The GHSAAs hail from 14 states and include returning athletes Tiana and Tiara A'au (Oregon), Cassidy Bargell (Colorado), Jordan Cowan (New Jersey), Alexandra DiMarco (Pennsylvania), Madison Jumper (Washington), Lolohea Makaafi, Leilani Mendoza (California), Julia Riekena (Montana), Salote Tausinga (California), Brianna Vasquez (California), and Elizabeth Wilson (Virginia).

The GHSAAs were busy in 2016, playing in two international sevens competitions - winning Vancouver Rugby Festival and claiming silver at Rugby Europe Women's U18 Sevens Championship - that bookended an under-16 and under-18 East Tour in Quebec and an under-18 tour in British Columbia. In more than 400 minutes of rugby, the GHSAAs lost just one sevens match.

"The GHSAA staff has been working hard preparing our athletes to play at the most competitive level possible, so there is a lot of excitement among the program in regards to our upcoming series with Canada," Douglas said. "The team selected includes some key players who made significant contributions to the recent success of the GHSAA program last year, and this experience is sure to put them in a good place as they look to make the leap to the national stage at the under-20 and senior levels."

Broadcast information for the four matches at University of Ottawa will be announced by Rugby Canada closer to the Series, while admission will be free to the public.

AIG Women's Junior All-Americans | Can-Am Series

Suiluana A'auCentral Washington University
Kaino Ah QuinBrigham Young University
Milla AndersonDartmouth College
Lilly DurbinFallbrook High School
Bayleigh GableU.S. Military Academy at West Point
Emily HenrichOrchard Park HS
Hannah LewandowskiCentral Washington University
Taylor MakowskiLife University
Yana ManoaCentral Washington University
Joanna MoreiraCentral Washington University
Michel NavarroCentral Washington University
Olivia OrtizDavenport University
Maryjane PasiolesSacramento PD PAL
Emily PrenticeHarvard University
Katherine RamageDartmouth College
Michelle ReyesNorthern Virginia Rugby
Anne RolfSt Joseph Academy
Becca RoskoDartmouth College
Alexandra StasserNotre Dame College
Adi Finau TamaivenaSeattle Saracens
Kristina TomellosoSaint Mary's College
Caitlin WeigelHarvard University
Emma WorkmanBrigham Young University
Erin WrightCatholic Memorial HS
Ilona ZaishliukNotre Dame College

AIG Women's Junior All-Americans | Coaching Staff
Wil Snape - Head Coach
Kitt Ruiz - Assistant Coach
Katie Dowty - Assistant Coach
Annemarie Farrell - Manager
Katherine Henry - Physiotherapist
Kaylee Howard - Manager
Diane Watanabe - Physiotherapist
Terrance Cronin - MD
Craig Wilson - Videoanalyst
Rich Humm - Coach Advisor

AIG Women's Junior All-Americans | Can-Am Series
v. Canada U20 - Thursday, Aug. 3 @ 11 a.m. ET
v. Canada U20 - Monday, Aug. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Girls High School All-Americans powered by Atavus | Can-Am Series

Tiara A'auGrant High School
Tiana A'auGrant High School
Leireena AnjolokLand Park HS
Cassidy BargellSummit High School
Madylyn BeckerKC United High School
Malery BillingyNew York Rugby Club
Gracie CartwrightPleasanton Cavaliers
Jordan CowanMorris Rugby
Kateleen Dela PazKent Crusaders
Alexandra DiMarcoWhite Horse RC
Morgan FreemanFt. Lauderdale High School
Haley HarrisValkyrie HS
Fane HaungatauSacramento PD PAL
Emily HenrichOrchard Park HS
Madison JumperKent Crusaders
Allison KoenigCatholic Memorial HS
Lolohea MakaafiKent Crusaders
Sharilyf MayerBishop O'Dowd HS
Leilani MendozaSouth Bay HS
Julia RiekenaMissoula Valley RC
Matja SaarenheimoGrandville RC
Marion SellierPleasanton Cavaliers
Samantha TancrediNorth Bay RC
Salote TausingaSacramento PD PAL
Charity TenneyUnited RC
Brianna VasquezSouth Bay HS
Elizabeth WilsonSpringfield HS

Girls High School All-Americans powered by Atavus | Can-Am Series
Farrah Douglas - Head Coach
Emilie Bydwell - Assistant Coach
Katherine Henry - Physiotherapist
Annemarie Farrell - Manager
Diane Watanabe - Physiotherapist
Terrance Cronin - MD
Craig Wilson - Videoanalyst
Kaylee Howard - Manager
Rick Humm - Coach Advisor

Girls High School All-Americans powered by Atavus | Can-Am Series
v. Canada U18 - Tuesday, Aug. 1 @ 6 p.m. ET
v. Canada U18 - Saturday, Aug. 5 @ 6 p.m. ET