USA Women’s Sevens program to increase identification of multi-sport athletes with Talent Transfer initiative

Program will use The Next Olympic Hopeful, Team USA Pro Days, scouting and open nomination to identify current Division I student-athletes of other sports for rugby

USA Rugby’s Women’s Sevens program is expanding its reach with a Talent Transfer initiative designed to identify high performing Division I student-athletes of diverse sporting backgrounds who fit an established athlete profile.

The program will incorporate a wide range of scouting opportunities including the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Next Olympic Hopeful and Team USA Pro Days, as well as visits from national team staff at collegiate institutions and professional combines for other sports across the nation. A nomination form will also be available for athletes to self-identify based on set criteria established by Women’s High Performance.

VIEW TALENT TRANSFER ATHLETE PROFILE HERE
COMPLETE TALENT TRANSFER NOMINATION FORM

Talent recruitment activities will culminate annually in a series of high performance camps known as Project Paris-Tackling Gold, where identified athletes will be invited to verify talent and evaluate next steps. This year’s camps will happen at the U.S. Olympic Training Site in Chula Vista, alongside the senior national teams, from June 2-7, July 6-21 during Pan-Am Games preparation and in September (dates TBA).

From performances in camps, talent transfer athletes can be selected for a trial contract in the senior Women’s Sevens Residency Program or placement in an academy level program either directly within Women’s High Performance or through a USA Rugby National Development Academy.

The Talent Transfer initiative will continue into 2020 and 2021 to identify athletes who show potential for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.

For years, USA Rugby’s national and Olympic teams have seen athletes of various sporting backgrounds find success in rugby.

2017 Rugby World Cup athlete Christiane Pheil was a former Division I Tennis player for the University of Colorado before transitioning to rugby and making the U.S. Women’s National Team.

VIEW CHRISTIANE PHEIL’S JOURNEY TO THE JERSEY

2016 Olympian Alev Kelter was a well-known ice-hockey player for the University of Wisconsin who won Gold as part of USA Hockey’s U18 team before transitioning to rugby.

Two-time Rugby World Cup athlete Cheta Emba picked up rugby while playing soccer for Harvard University and newcomer Kristi Kirshe recently capped off a record-breaking career in soccer for Williams College. Kirshe made her national team debut only 18 months since first picking up a rugby ball.

“Our pathway continues to grow stronger as we see more athletes come through the age-grade pathway, however we can’t ignore the fact that we still have players coming from other sports who make a significant impact on the international stage,” said Emilie Bydwell, General Manager for Women’s High Performance.

“The Women’s Sevens Talent Transfer Initiative will fortify and formalize opportunities meant to capture graduating collegiate D1 athletes that have the potential to challenge and strengthen our national team program. Our goal is to solidify a sustainable pipeline of high performing athletes from diverse backgrounds into rugby.”

Registrations for The Next Olympic Hopeful close today, athletes can still sign up here.

Team USA Pro Days, which launched earlier this April, have three final combine-style events at Baylor University (May 5), University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (May 18) and East Tennessee State University (June 15). Players from each institution can sign up here.

A nomination form for athletes to self-identify is also available here.


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