Photo courtesy Northeast Academy / Taiwan Mike Photography
New York, NY – As part of USA Rugby’s critical talent identification and high performance pathway system, the Northeast Academy has finalized plans to expand its operation with a third training hub in Buffalo, NY. The newest training squad in the Northeast Academy family will soon allow the regional development org to serve players and coaches in an area that has long been hamstrung by its distance from A-typical metro areas like NYC and Boston.
From Northeast Academy Executive Director, Sean Horan, “Western New York State is a hotbed for rugby. Giving these athletes and coaches more consistent opportunities to get noticed will fit right into the mission of the Northeast Academy, identifying and preparing players for National and Olympic team thresholds.”
The large and somewhat sparsely populated regions of upstate NY, western VT and western MA have strong foundations for rugby, but often see fewer match opportunities throughout the year. Northeast Academy’s structure of adding training and tournament opportunities to the players’ schedules will help talent in the region pick up crucial experience in an elite rugby environment under the direction of some the area’s highest caliber coaches.
Horan and the Academy’s upstate Director, Lex Maccubbin worked the networking lines hard throughout the winter and spring of this year, assembling a crack team of coaches to guide the new training squad. Mike Hodgins and Jerry Hann from the University at Buffalo, Tui Osborne from St. Bonaventure University and Danny Ryan, coach of the Hamburg Boys High School Rugby program will be joined by Buffalo Women’s player/coach Kristen Huber and Buffalo Rugby Club senior men’s coaches Chris Wells and Maccubbin.
Ryan, Hann, Hodgins and Maccubbin all have in-depth experience coaching All-Star High School teams in addition to consistent duties with Men’s senior and college clubs throughout the greater Buffalo area.
Huber and Osborne are well known 7s specialists with excellent pedigrees. Osborne, famously having coached Life University men to both 15s and 7s National Championships, while Huber is part of the Atlantis Rugby community, which has been trotting the globe in elite competition for decades. The full complement of coaches in the upstate group is sure to make the latest expansion of the Northeast Academy a highly collaborative environment.
The players chosen for the inaugural year in western New York will largely be decided upon at the Northeast Academy’s combine and NTC tryout event on June 11 in Saratoga Springs. Communication lines with all of the area teams and coaches will also be open though, as talent identification and elite training development in farthest reaches of the Northeast region begins anew.