Men’s U20s match day squad confirmed for first of two qualifier fixtures against Canada

Fri, May 31, 2024, 11:16 PM
by Calder Cahill.

Nearly two weeks after arriving in camp, the USA Men’s U20s will walk out against Canada at the Shawnigan Lake School in British Columbia this Saturday, as Head Coach Neets Gericke and the coaching staff have named the first match day 23 for the World Rugby U20s Trophy Qualifier.

The first of a two-match series over the next six days, USA vs Canada kicks off at 6PM ET live on Rugby Canada YouTube.

The squad list will see some returning names from the 2023 U20s group, with five named to the starting fifteen and Oliver Cline coming off the bench. A line up of special young talent will also debut to the Trophy competition with Asa Rosenmeier, Brice Muller, Spencer Huntley and Major League Rugby (MLR) standout, Seth Smith called up from last year’s U18s squad. Smith is excitingly one of three players currently rostered with MLR as Dylan Fortune gets the start at No. 8 and Tevita Kutu selected as a reserve. Fortune and Kutu join the squad mid-season with Anthem Rugby Carolina, the newest professional franchise under the purview of USA Rugby and World Rugby.

32 Collegiate, Club and High School prospects arrived in northern Washington on May 18th for a training camp in lead up to the two qualifier matches. Hosted by the deWilde Rugby & Polo Fields, the squad ran through an intensive 10 days of preparation before sailing up to Langford ahead of this Saturday.

Looking back on training camp, Gericke noted, “The boys competed well back in Washington. We asked them to compete and that’s what they did, so we couldn’t have asked for anything more. We bonded well during our time together and we feel we have the right 23 on the field tomorrow.”

“The main point is for the players to connect. We want to see them communicate well on the field, feed off each other and play for each other. That’s really what it comes down to for us.”

University of California - Berkeley Sophomore, Caden Crist steps up as Captain speaking to the team energy, “Within the squad we have a lot of returning guys from last year’s campaign, so we’re hoping the experience from that group pays off; bringing the lessons learned from international competition into this first game against Canada.”

Men’s U20s Roster | World Rugby Trophy Qualifier Match One | USA vs Canada
1. John-Henry Rouse Saint Mary's College
2. Caden Crist (C) Univ. of California - Berkeley
3. Asa Rosenmeier Brown University
4. Brice Muller Babson College
5. George Engels US Military Academy - West Point
6. Logan Ballinger Life University
7. Daniel Lowther St. Bonaventure University
8. Dylan Fortune Anthem Rugby Carolina (MLR)
9. Spencer Huntley San Diego Mustangs
10. Rand Santos Univ. of California - Berkeley
11. Tito Edjua Brown University
12. Max Threlkeld Univ. of California - Berkeley
13. Dominic Besag Saint Mary's College
14. Emmett Cook Univ. of California - Berkeley
15. Corbin Smith Hartpury University
16. Seth Smith Houston SaberCats (MLR)
17. Asbjorn Lau Ross UCLA
18. Tevita Kutu Anthem Rugby Carolina (MLR)
19. Miles Malone Univ. of California - Berkeley
20. Holden Hahn University of Kentucky
21. Judd Berman Trinity College
22. Oliver Cline Univ. of Central Washington
23. Keelan Farrell Esher Rugby Club
USA Men’s U20s North American Qualifier Staff

Head Coach | Neets Gericke

Assistant Coach | Elvis Seveali'i

Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matoko Noudehou

Athletic Trainer | Anna Unnasch

Team Analyst | Luke Richmond

Team Manager | Darran Coleman

USA Men’s U20s North American Qualifier Schedule

June 1, 2024

USA vs Canada Match One | 6pm ET

Shawnigan Lake School | Shawnigan Lake, BC

June 6, 2024

USA vs Canada Match Two | 10pm ET

Starlight Stadium | Langford, BC

Qualifying for the U20s Trophy in consecutive years is only the first step in 2024 for the long-term USA development plan. A critical piece to the puzzle is a fundraising and support initiative dubbed, Fuel The Future, aimed at offering the most time and resources possible to the Junior National Teams. A grid of necessities goes into funding a single player's development journey - from travel, accommodations, coaching and supplies, where there is a significant amount of player support required. While World Rugby grants support the team for competition windows, gifts from generous donors are a crucial part of the plan, and ultimate growth for the USA Eagles on the world stage. The Men’s U20s are projected to be the very core of players expected to compete on home soil during Rugby World Cup 2031, so USA Rugby is hopeful to cultivate these individuals and players and members of the rugby community, with the support of donors like you.