Women’s Falcons set roster for Hokkaido Governor’s Cup

Developmental women’s sevens team to play two-day tournament in Japan

CHULA VISTA, CA. - 12 Women's Falcons have been selected to participate in the developmental Hokkaido Governor's Cup tournament taking place in Japan Sept 22-24 (based on Eastern time).

The competition -- which includes 12 sevens teams -- will allow emerging USA women's players to gain valuable playing time ahead of selections for the opening round of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series 2019 at the senior level.

Drawn in pool A, the USA will face teams from New Zealand, Diana and the Cook Islands. Australia, rival-Canada, Ireland and Japan will also bring teams to the Hokkaido event, with pool play taking up Day One and knockout rounds beginning on Day Two.

In total, six members of the Falcons' squad come from the Women's Sevens residency program with the remaining six having displayed an exemplary performance at the Club 7s National Championships or National Academy Tournaments.

Led by Chicago Lions Head Coach Dave Clancy, the team brings two senior women's players with Neariah Persinger and Megan Foster both making the cut.

Persinger made her World Series debut in Kitakyushu last season while Foster last helped the Women's Sevens claim silver at the 2018 Dubai Sevens tournament. Both also have considerable developmental and senior club experience  with Persinger having competed in several Falcons competitions to date and Foster recently winning the Club 7s National Championships with the San Diego Surfers.

Life West Gladiatrix Nikki Kenyon earned a selection, as well, after winning Bronze at the aforementioned Club 7s Championships. Kenyon and returning Falcons Ashlee Byrge, Dani McDonald and Kasey McCravey will also feature in the Hokkaido tournament.

USA Rugby General Manager for Women's High Performance Emilie Bydwell said: "The Governor's Cup tournament gives us an excellent opportunity to send a talented, young Falcons team to compete prior to the World Series kicking off in October in Denver. The residents in this group are developing well but they need an opportunity to test all they have learned in a World Series environment. The competition will give the other seven players a taste of what the jump to international 7s looks like and show national team staff that they have the attributes to make them competitive in the World Series."

The Women's Falcons will kickoff the tournament on Saturday, Sep 22 at 9:22 PM ET against Diana. The Cook Islands will follow next with pool rounds closing out against New Zealand. Through the tournament, fans can stay tuned for updates by following @USARugby on Twitter.

PlayerClubRugby Resume Notes
Amanda BertaUSA Women's Sevens Residency • 2017 D1 Elite National Champion with Penn State 
Ashlee ByrgeUSA Women's Sevens Residency• Returning Women's Falcon
• Part of Army World Class Athlete Program
Megan FosterSan Diego Surfers

• Senior Women's Sevens player
• Won 2018 Club 7s National Championships
• Named to 2018 Club 7s National Championships Dream Team

Allison GallagherScion Rugby• Won 2018 Club 7s National Championship Silver 
• Named to 2018 Club 7s National Championships Dream Team 
• NSCRO All-Star 7s Gold Medalist and Championship MVP
Nikki KenyonUSA Women's Sevens Residency• Won Club 7s National Championships Bronze with Life West
Kristi KirsheBoston Rugby• Named to the National Academy Tournament Dream Team by Northeast Rugby
Kasey McCraveyUSA Women's Sevens Residency• Returning Women's Falcon
Dani McdonaldUSA Women's Sevens Residency• Returning Women's Falcon
Jade McGrathScion Rugby • Won 2018 Club 7s National Championship Silver 
Neariah PersingerUSA Women's Sevens Residency• Senior Women's Sevens player
• Returning Women's Falcon
• Named to 2018 Club 7s National Championships Dream Team
Shamira RoblesNew York Rugby• 2018 Women's Collegiate All-American (7s)
• Named to 2018 Club 7s National Championships Dream Team
Paige StathopoulosBoston Rugby• Named to 2018 Club 7s National Championships Dream Team 

Women's Falcons Staff

Head Coach | Dave Clancy
Athletic Trainer | Sarah Leslie
Team Manager | Josie Ziluca

Women's Falcons Schedule

vs Diana
Sat, Sep 22 | 9:22 PM ET

vs Cook Islands
Sat, Sep 22 | 11:20 PM ET

vs New Zealand
Sun, Sep 23 | 12:56 AM ET

Knockout rounds begin Sun, Sep 23 at 8 PM

*Schedule subject to change.