USA Falls to Canada in Youth Olympic Games Qualifier Final

Girls team looks ahead while boys team awaits final chance for Buenos Aires 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV. - The USA girls and boys teams completed the Rugby Americas North Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers on Saturday, both falling to Canada 5-36 (girls) and 10-14 (boys) in the final at Sam Boyd Stadium. While the girls will now look ahead to Regional Cup Tournaments for development towards future Olympic opportunities, the fate of the boys team will rest with Team Canada's Boys Field Hockey who has been declared as the team sport by their federation, but hasn't yet qualified for Buenos Aires 2018.

Due to the structure of the Youth Olympic Games, each federation is allowed to select one team sport across football, handball, rugby and field hockey. On the girls side, both Team Canada and Team USA selected rugby, which meant the USA girls would have had to win the final in order to clinch their position.

"The critical importance in the development of this age group won't be halted by the loss of a game," said Girls Head Coach Emilie Bydwell. "Ultimately, we are in the business of developing our future Eagles so it's important that we keep wins and losses in perspective."

On the boys side, Canada has selected field hockey and USA has selected rugby, meaning the USA boys still have a chance to qualify so long as Canada's field hockey team also qualifies. If Canada's field hockey team does not qualify, the Canadian boys rugby team will travel in their stead and the United States' boys team will be forced to await future competition on the Olympic circuit.

"Being able to qualify, in a different way than you'd recommend is bittersweet," said Boys Head Coach JD Stephenson. "It would be a shame for a Canadian side that has earned the right to qualify to lose their spot because they are a tremendous team and have done everything right. However, if the chips fall in our favor, we'll try and represent North America as best as possible."

Through three days of competition featuring games against Jamaica, Barbados, Mexico and Canada, both the girls and boys teams won every match except those against their northern neighbor. Head Coaches Emilie Bydwell and JD Stephenson were proud of their respective teams for remaining in the fight and persevering through the challenges in competition.

"The girls developed significantly with their tactical understanding and execution," said Bydwell. "They learned what it means to send themselves to dark places in terms of the work rate output and effort needed consistently to play International 7s. Ultimately, they were forced to work together and overcome their nerves to find the self-belief to perform."

"The biggest obstacle faced that we had to overcome was team cohesion and 12 players working together towards a common goal," said Stephenson. "The ability to work together throughout the game is key, as you can imagine, and we were unable to get the cohesion where we really like it. At this level with the quality standard of international play, the inability to execute as a team is costly." 


1. Taylor Marasco
2. Maddie Rose
3. Fane "Eti" Haungatau
4. Cecilia Pennell
5. Alex Dimarco - Capt.
6. Salote Taulsinga
7. Claira Lemal Brown
8. Kapoina Bailey
9. Kate Buzby
10. Sharyf Mayer
11. Arianna Ramsey
12. Susan Adegoke

1. Ty Al-Jiboori
2. Will Chevalier
3. Max Clark
4. Alex Cleary
5. Lauina Falatea
6. Mateo Gadsen
7. Jasper Green
8. Fran Liguori
9. Sione Mahe
10. Zach Neff
11. Fatu Te'o-Tafiti
12. Inoke "Jr" Waqavesi - Capt.


vs. Mexico W | 41-0 (W)
vs. Barbados W | 29-0 (W)
vs. Canada W | 5-14 (L)

Semi Finals
vs. Mexico | 53-0 (W)

vs. Canada | 5-36 (L)

vs. Barbados M | 57-0 (W)
vs. Jamaica M | 38-7 (W)
vs. Canada M | 19-12 (L)

Semi Final
vs. Jamaica | 33-14 (W)

vs. Canada | 10-14 (L)


Head Coach - Emilie Bydwell
Performance Analyst - Dave Gardner
Physiotherapist - Katherine Henry
Program Manager - Anna Kunkel

Head Coach - JD Stephenson
Assistant Coach - Brendan Keane
Assistant Coach - David Fee
Physiotherapist - Alan Wallace
Team Manager - Frank Palumbo