USA Rugby Restructures the American Rugby Model

New four-year plan supports the scholastic blueprint with increased opportunities for age-grade athletes

LAFAYETTE, CO. - Following the announcement of a new coach development pathway in Project SOAR, USA Rugby reframes the women's and men's American Rugby Model with a four-year plan that supports the scholastic blueprint while increasing opportunities for talent identification and development at each stage of the age-grade process. The refreshed schedule incorporates annual events with reasonable financial obligations, connecting single and multi-sport high-school athletes with college programs, whilst reducing academic calendar conflicts and streamlining national team opportunities.

A blueprint of the new structure may be viewed here, or by visiting the "Become an Eagle" section on each National Team's page at USARugby.org.

"Streamlining the women's and men's age-grade pathways allows us to leverage resources across programs, increase knowledge exchange opportunities and provide consistency to our community," said Emilie Bydwell, USA Rugby's General Manager for Women's High Performance. "We will work with our respective development academies to supplement what athletes receive in their daily training environments to maximize long term athlete development."

"Having a more secure four-year All-American schedule allows our coaches at the local and regional level to better plan athlete development and periodization," said Alex Magleby, USA Rugby's General Manager for High Performance. "Our aim remains in locally nurturing the game as much as possible - reducing financial constraints - while increasing access to quality coaching, competition, and talent identification near home."

Beginning with U18s at the Regional Cup Tournaments (RCTs) in June, high school sophomores and juniors will have a chance to be selected for the now two-team High School All-American player pool. Once selected, those players will compete in the North American Four Tournament (NA4s) in late December, paving the way for a similar schedule with heightened competition the next year as U19s (i.e. RCTs following senior year of high school then NA4s as Stars and Stripes).

"Increasing the number of under 18 and under 20 players in Junior and High School All-American programs, along with establishing consistency in competition events at the age-grade levels will have a significant impact on our development looking to the 2021 & 2025 World Cups, and 2024 & 2028 Olympics " says Women's GM Bydwell. "Broadening the player pool whilst formalizing competition events will allow us to better track and verify athletes at our early age-grade entry points."

Through sophomore and junior years, the refreshed model will ensure that university coaches are available to evaluate talent at each competition. Once athletes have made the jump to a collegiate program, a series of Junior All-American and Collegiate All-American competitions at the U20 and U23 levels (respectively) can translate into selections for developmental USA Rugby tournaments, and ultimately the Senior National Team(s).

"Part and parcel to this is increasing the number of opportunities student-athletes have to interface with national team coaches and potential future collegiate coaches," said High Performance GM Magleby, further describing the goals of the updated model. "The latter is served through a re-emphasis on college scouting at the RCTs while the former includes an increase in repetitions with the girls and boys High School All-Americans doubling in size."

In addition to events in the buildup to national team selection, the New American Model includes a Stars and Stripes competition in December of each year for college freshmen and U20 club players. The competition, designed to bridge the gap between High School All-Americans and U20 World Rugby competition, will help provide an extra layer for athletes to grow into their skills on the pitch.

As added benefits, the new schedule focuses on the summer and late winter months, allowing multi-sport high school athletes to continue with other programs as they strive for advancement in their playing careers. And, with all age-grade coaches selected from Project SOAR, the clear-cut schedule identifies various stages of athletic growth allowing program leaders to build developmental plans accordingly.

A diagram of the new American Rugby Model may be viewed here and on the "Become an Eagle" section of each National Team's Page of USArugby.org. Additionally, USA Rugby's High Performance sharing module titled Eagle Files, available to all members, will continue to evolve alongside the four-year plan. 

WOMEN'S UPCOMING EVENTS | NEW AMERICAN RUGBY MODEL

UNDER 18s
North America Four Tournament
USA High School All American Red & Blue
December 2018 | Location TBD

UNDER 20s
Junior All-Americans vs Canada & England U20s
August 2018 | Canada

Stars & Stripes Competition
December 2018 | Location TBD

UNDER 23s
USA Collegiate All-Americans
June 9 | Denver, CO

MEN'S UPCOMING EVENTS | NEW AMERICAN RUGBY MODEL

UNDER 18s
North America Four Tournament
Canada Red & White + USA High School All-American Red & Blue
December 2018 | Location TBD

UNDER 20s
USA Junior All-Americans vs Canada U20s
June 2018 | Location TBD

North America Four Tournament
Canada Red & White + USA Stars & Stripes
December 2018 | Location TBD

UNDER 23s
USA Collegiate All-Americans vs Canada Universities
June 2018 | Canada