USA Rugby announces 2019 roster for Men’s Sevens Residency Program

24 athletes will train full-time at the U.S. Olympic Training Site in Chula Vista with three part of the Men’s Sevens Academy Program

CHULA VISTA, CA. - USA Rugby has released the names of 24 athletes who will train full-time at the U.S. Olympic Training Site in Chula Vista, CA as part of the senior Men's Eagles Sevens Residency and junior Men's Sevens Academy programs. The Academy program features three of the 24 total athletes who have yet to make their national team debut and are still part of a collegiate or club program.

All athletes part of the Men's Sevens Residency or Academy Program are available for selection for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, upcoming PanAm Games 2019 and developmental Falcons tours through the season. Players in both programs will train in a full-time environment led by Head Coach Mike Friday and fellow Men's Sevens staff.

High performance (HP) camps take place within the structure of the residency program and serve as intensive weeks of training where non-resident athletes are also invited. In these camps, players are tested and evaluated for selection to an upcoming competition and/or to join the Residency or Academy programs.

"In striving to continually evolve, we've added some fresh blood to the squad which has provided that energy every environment needs to be successful," said Head Coach Mike Friday. "We are slowly building depth to this program year over year; and while we are still focused on today, we will continue to plan for life after 2020 to maintain the continuity in the program and crack the American Sporting landscape. It is a balancing act but one we are working hard to achieve."

The Academy program -- led primarily by National High Performance Development Manager JD Stephenson -- takes place within the structure of the larger Men's Sevens Residency program as an opportunity for up-and-coming athletes to train and ultimately transition to the senior program over time. 2018 Youth Olympians Inoke "Junior" Waqavesi, Lauina Falatea and Ulu Niutupuivaha are Academy players.

All athletes in the Men's Sevens Residency and Academy Programs come from D1A Rugby or domestic club programs across the United States.

As part of the program's commitment to further invest in American talent, Development Manager Stephenson will cast a comprehensive net in a new "Eagles Nest" initiative. The initiative itself will see two Men's Sevens representatives continue to be present at each U.S. tournament while others periodically engage in talent identification of American athletes playing globally. The approach aims to leave no stone unturned in the lead-up to a heavily competitive Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

"We must continue to explore all avenues in our talent identification and development process," said Stephenson. "From our competitive domestic playing pool, talent transfer initiatives and non-domestic qualified American players, we are looking to ensure that our next generation of Eagles will continue to hold up the exemplary standards of our Men's and Women's National Team programs."

The Men's Eagles Sevens will next compete in the fourth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at HSBC Sydney Sevens Feb 2-3. Currently tied for No. 1 in the World after claiming three consecutive silver medals, the USA will need to continue their stride in order to conclude the season in the Top 4 and qualify for the Olympics. Sydney Sevens may be streamed LIVE on watch.espnplus.com.

Following Sydney, the United States will take a few weeks rest before traveling to their home stop in Las Vegas Mar 1-3. The Men's Sevens won their home stop for the first time in history just last year. Tickets for HSBC USA Sevens in Las Vegas are available here or at usasevens.com.

USA Men's Eagles Sevens Residency Roster

PlayerFormer School/ClubHSBC Tournaments
Perry BakerDaytona Beach39
Danny BarrettSan Francisco Golden Gate44
Pat BlairSan Diego Legion12
Maceo BrownGrand Canyon University3
Naima Fuala'auLife West2
Madison HughesDartmouth College40
Martin IosefoDenver Barbarians36
Carlin IslesGentlemen of Aspen44
Matai LeutaSan Jose Seahawks29
Cody MelphyLife University3
Folau NiuaEast Palo Alto Razorbacks62
Ben PinkelmanDenver Barbarians26
Joe SchroederScioto Valley5
Faitala TalapusiLife West3
Brett ThompsonTempe Rugby26
Stephen TomasinOld Mission Beach Athletic Club24
Marcus TupuolaNotre Dame College0
Maka UnufeProvo Steelers37
Anthony WelmersDavenport University4
Kevon WilliamsDenver Barbarians14
Ben BroselleUCLA0

USA Men's Sevens Academy Roster 

PlayerSchool/Club
Inoke "Junior" WaqavesiCK McLatchy Rugby
Lauina FalateaKahuku Rugby
Ulu NiutupuivahaKahuku Rugby

USA Men's Sevens Staff

Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | Phil Greening
Assistant Coach | Anthony Roques
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Jon Hood
Performance Analyst | Paul Goulding
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Team Manager | Scott Novack
National High Performance Development Manager | JD Stephenson

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 Schedule

Dubai, UAE
Second-place (silver medal)

Cape Town, RSA
Second-place (silver medal)

Hamilton, NZL
Second-place (silver medal)

Sydney, AUS
Feb 2-3, 2019

Las Vegas, NV, USA
Mar 1-3, 2019

Vancouver, CA
Mar 9-10, 2019

Hong Kong
Apr 5-7, 2019

Singapore
Apr 13-14, 2019

London, ENG
May 25-26, 2019

Paris, FRA
June 1-2, 2019

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