With the Global School Sevens on deck for the Men’s U18s, Head Coach David Fee and program staff have selected 13 young prospects to represent the USA for the renowned youth tournament in New Zealand.
With a few names familiar to USA High Performance Pathways, these High School and Collegiate players will participate in one of the leading international development competitions as their USA Sevens stories begin and the program puts building blocks in motion for the LA2028 Olympics on home soil. USA Men’s Sevens Captain, Kevon Williams will join the touring squad as Assistant Coach following his central part of the selection camp held in Chula Vista last month. Global Youth Sevens kicks off Thursday, December 14th USA time with live streaming available on the NextGen 7s App.
Head Coach David Fee said on the selections, “Going into the selection camp we were in search of speed, size, ball playing ability, playmakers, rugby intellect, all of it. I think this group gives us a great combination of what we need to compete in this tournament. Make no doubt about it however, we’ll need to come together and gel in a very short amount of time. These guys are used to that type of environment as American rugby players, and I firmly believe they'll be up for the challenge.
It’s hard not to look at the group, and even those we left behind, and realize they’ll be competing for the jersey for the next 10+ years. They’ll be competing on home soil for LA2028, and/or maybe in a 2031 Rugby World Cup. We’re seeing these players come through now with 10+ years of experience at 18 years old, having played in regional tournaments, and being well coached in their own environments. Global Youth Sevens is a phenomenal opportunity to demonstrate that we belong and can compete with some of the world's best. We finished 5th in 2019 with several players who have been, or are now competing to be on the series, and it was extremely beneficial for them, and I expect this to be no different for these boys.”
The selections and camp follow a spring and summer tour of High School sevens competitions aimed at closely identifying all available talent to bring in for the selection camp. With the support of key donors from the Golden Eagles and Mark Cuban Foundation, financing to participate is not an obstacle for this year’s U18 Sevens, ensuring little to no barrier for the camp invites and those selected to compete. While on rest from the first two stops of the HSBC SVNS Series, Captain Kevon Williams has dedicated his time in Chula Vista supporting the camp and will join Fee in New Zealand as Assistant Coach.
Williams added following the three-day camp, “I believe the 33 players came into camp ready to compete. Every one of them came in hungry to learn and get better and did a great job putting their hand up to be selected. At the end of the day, we were looking for the best 13 players to represent their country. I hope through this tour we can instill the mindset and work ethic it takes to play at a high level. Hopefully the boys have fun, and we can make it a trip they will never forget. Last time the team assembled they found a young Lucas Lacamp, so hopefully we will get lucky again!”
USA Men’s Sevens Head Coach Mike Friday said on Williams stepping into the coaching role, “A part of the long term strategy that has been in operation for the last six years, is the development of current and retiring players as coaches so they can give back, develop and inspire future generations. We already have a number of current players coaching at high school levels and we have seen others diversify to college, club and Major League Rugby. Kevon is part of that coaching group on this assignment and Perry heavily assisted at the selection camp whilst continuing on his coaching development path with Flag X and skills camps. This long term strategy, part of the Golden Eagles C.A.R.E program, is starting now to create some green shoots which have the potential to flourish in the coming years up to 2028 and most definitely beyond.”
Friday added on the development strategy through Global Youth Sevens, “We are hopeful that all players who attended had a positive experience. We hope working with the current senior players not only inspired them, but provided a clearer understanding of what is needed both on and off the pitch to achieve their long term rugby goals, and reach their potential as young men. Whether they ultimately play XVs or sevens is not a decision for right now, as it’s about developing them holistically and providing different rugby development experiences and exposures.
“As a program, this is something we have been dialed into for the last six to eight years, but since COVID this is the first time since 2019 we have been actively and financially able to reignite. We are truly grateful for the Golden Eagles and private donors for enabling us to run this valuable initiative, and we are hoping to light the flame in these young players to chase the LA2028 Olympic dream. Training at the residency base, being immersed in the facility, rubbing shoulders and learning from the current players is all about setting that clear pathway for these young men whilst providing them insight into the tough road of highs and lows when working to achieve their goals. Building resilience is a big pillar in that pathway, so sharing experiences of current players who didn't make the last selection in 2019, but are active on the roster now are equally important to provide perspective for these young men.
“We know the High Performance Pathway is our life line in allowing the game to thrive and grow in the country. If we want to be successful as a nation moving forward, then opportunities like for younger players to compete will only assist in that goal.”
|1. Arnaud Agasse
|2. Matthew Cleland
|3. Kade Cunningham
|4. Spencer Huntley
|San Diego Mustangs
|5. Masi Koi
|6. Marco Lapierre
|7. Zach Maughan
|Valor Rugby / Mountain Vista HS
|8. Sialeafuhia Ofa
|9. Max Paga
|10. Jackson Quammie
|11. James Rose
|Green Bay Rugby
|12. Ben Saunders
|Grand Canyon University
|13. Demitrius Ta'ape
Head Coach | David Fee
Assistant Coach | Kevon Williams
Team Analyst | Ethan Pougnet
Athletic Trainer | Delaney Cassidy
Men’s HP Pathways Manager | Brendan Keane
vs Asian Dragons | 11:20 PM ET
vs Iron Armour | 5:00 PM ET
vs Pakuranga | 7:00 PM ET
Knockouts begin 8PM ET on Friday, Dec 15. Follow @usarugby social media for updates.