USA Rugby announces annual plan and 2019 schedule for Women’s Age-Grade programs

USA Rugby has today announced an annual plan and corresponding 2019 schedule for its women’s age-grade programs including High School (U18) and Collegiate All-American sevens and fifteens, as well as Under-20s.

The schedule and correlating plan are part of a commitment made by USA Rugby’s Women’s High Performance to build a transparent pathway with robust talent development systems. While age-grade programs are not the only way to become an Eagle, they still serve as an immensely critical component of high performance. 

Following its 2018 review, Women's High Performance identified the following core priorities that, together, employ a comprehensive approach to player development and increase the effectiveness of the age-grade pathway.

Core priorities within the Women’s Age-Grade Plan are as follows:

  • Provide an additional layer of talent development and verification by hosting regionally based assemblies across all three age groups
  • Maximize time in between assemblies with remote programming, athlete monitoring and increased opportunities for players and coaches to interact
  • Reduce barriers to entry in the program with early communication and consistent scheduling that allows for transparency and financial planning

As a part of the plan’s structure, players will receive individual development plans that incorporate self-assessment, coaches’ feedback, projected goals and multi-year planning. Alongside those plans will be a physical development curriculum that allows athletes to show meaningful growth by accounting for time outside of events. The core playing group will be monitored regularly through the year with coaches available to provide support and resources as needed.

Additionally, the sevens and fifteens programs will be integrated, allowing players to attend events for both and have as many opportunities as possible to accelerate growth.


Learn More about USA Rugby's Age-Grade Programs 


The plan is supported by its schedule of assemblies, announced in advance each year to allow time for preparation and planning. Multiple entry points into the program are included which pave the way for more athletes to be involved and more talent to be verified. The schedule features a mix of events in regions across the country, as well as centralized assemblies that bring athletes to a single place, helping coaches cast a wider net in identifying talent.

General Manager for Women’s High Performance, Emilie Bydwell said: “One of our top strategic priorities for Women’s High Performance is the development and execution of a robust, transparent and accessible talent identification and development ecosystem. The age-grade pathway is a critical platform for that. The pathway has a history of producing players that go on to become Eagles, but we know we can make it more accessible, integrated across all three age-grade programs and the seniors, as well as not simply an event-based development tool.”

Our age-grade pathway needs to support our athletes year-round, with events serving as the cherry on top. All the real work needs to be done away from those events and we need to continue to develop an infrastructure that supports that reality. We feel that the schedule that has been developed and the principles that underpin it are a big step in the right direction.”


HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICANS

The High School All-American Sevens will have two regional assemblies in May with one on the West (May 11-12) and another on the East Coast (May 18-19). High School All-American fifteens will also host two similar camps from August 8-12 on the West and August 21-25 on the East; followed by USA Rugby’s annual Winter Camp in California December 27-31. All assemblies will include international competition with players selected primarily from Regional Cup Tournaments (2018 & 2019) and previous All-American assemblies.

High school players and coaches may submit their information through a nomination form at hiperforms.com. Regional Cup Tournaments serve as the primary selection vehicle for High School All-American selection and participation in those events will be used to verify nominations.


UNDER 20s 

Under 20s -- a fifteens specific program previously known as Junior All-Americans -- will name a Performance Squad annually and participate in a preseason Regional Training Program alongside the senior team. From June 2-6, both the U20s Performance Squad and additional athletes identified within the first five months of the year will attend a final selection camp for international competition from July 15-26. Selection camp will run in partnership with the NSCRO 15s Selects All-Star squad, including a final match against the USA U20s that exposes the NSCRO team to the age-grade program.

Players for the Under-20s program are selected from previous Regional Cup Tournaments, USA U20 and High School All-American events, as well as nomination and scouting from collegiate and club programs. Coaches and players may submit nominations at hiperforms.com by May 10th. Athletes born between Sept 1, 1998 and Dec 31, 2000 are eligible.


COLLEGIATE ALL-AMERICANS

Collegiate All-Americans will host regional camps in June -- known as Opportunity Days -- with selections made through scouting, nominations as well as All-American and All-Conference honors lists. From these Opportunity Days, players will be chosen for either a fifteens competition in July or a sevens tournament in August. Additional details about both competitions will be announced separately.

Coaches and players may submit Collegiate All-American nominations at hiperforms.com by May 15. Once nominations are reviewed, select players will receive invitations to the Opportunity Day in their area.


For years, USA Rugby’s age-grade programs have served as a significant feeder to the senior national teams in both sevens and fifteens. With this revised approach, the organization will give players a platform to reach their senior international goals by maintaining a clear identity and campaign plan within each age group. 

2019 Women’s Age-Grade Schedule

Opponents, assembly structure and locations to be announced separately at a later stage.

High School All-American 15s

West Camp
August 8-12

East Camp
August 21-25

Winter Camp
Dec 27-31

High School All-American 7s

West Camp
May 11-12

East Camp
May 18-19

Under 20s

Preparation & Selection Camp
June 2-6
Two matches vs NSCRO Women's 15s Selects

International Competition
July 15 to July 26

Collegiate All-American 15s

Opportunity Days
June, dates TBA

Domestic Fifteens Competition
July, dates TBA

Collegiate All-American 7s

Domestic Sevens tournament
August, dates TBA

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