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38 Named to USA 15s Performance Squad

  • 09 Feb 2019

Zackary, Benson, Augustyn / Max Haynes photo (

Read the full article below or the original on USA Rugby’s website. Immediately below are the 38 players selected to the 2019 Performance Squad:

Sui A’au – Central Washington University

Tiana A’au – Central Washington University

Tiara A’au – Central Washington University

Katy Augustyn – Berkeley All Blues

Bui Baravilala – San Diego Surfers

Catie Benson – Life West Gladiatrix

Stacey Bridges – Beantown

Kaitlyn Broughton – Atlanta Harlequins

Elizabeth Cairns – Life West Gladiatrix

Gabby Cantorna – Glendale Merlins

Jennine Devereaux – Seattle Saracens

Megan Foster – San Diego Surfers

Misha Green – New York Rugby

McKenzie Hawkins – Lindenwood University

Emily Henrich – Dartmouth College

Evan Hoese – Berkeley All Blues

Katana Howard – Twin Cities Amazons

Nick James – Houston Athletic

Bailey Johnson – Twin Cities Amazons

Katie Johnson – Twin Cities Amazons

Rachel Johnson – Oregon Sports Union

Joanna Kitlinski – Glendale Merlins

Cortney Kuehl – Atlanta Harlequins

Bulou Mataitoga – Berkeley All Blues

Azniv Nalbandian – Penn State University

Mary Jane Pasioles – Central Washington University

Christiane Pheil – Atlanta Harlequins

Kat Ramage – Dartmouth College

Megan Rom – Life University

Kimber Rozier – Beantown Rugby

Kristine Sommer – Harlequins (ENG) / Seattle Saracens

Kelsi Stockert – Unattached

McKenna Strong – Lindenwood University

Finau Tamaivena – Seattle Saracens

Joyce Taufa – Lindenwood University

Alycia Washington – New York Rugby

Carly Waters – New York Rugby

Kate Zackary (C) – San Diego Surfers

CHULA VISTA, CA – Thirty-eight athletes have been named to the new Women’s Eagles (15s) 2019 Performance Squad, USA Rugby announced today.

The Performance Squad serves as the top tier of a new player pool structure, to be announced at the beginning of each year and remain equivalent in status across both the Women’s and Men’s Eagles (15s) sides. Both programs will include an Extended Squad within their player pool — which sits junior to the top tier — while the Women’s National Team will also have a third tier called the Watchlist.

Players who sit in the Women’s Extended Squad and Watchlist represent athletes who show potential to reach the main Performance tier over time. Each of the three groups within the player pool will receive attention and support from Women’s High Performance with accountability and resources most heavily attributed to the top Performance tier.

Additionally, to give athletes more opportunities to compete internationally, Women’s High Performance will integrate its sevens and fifteens programs by allowing Women’s Sevens players a chance to be selected for fifteens competitions. Athletes in the Women’s Sevens Residency Program will be considered an extension of the Women’s Eagles Performance Squad, with the goal of helping players cross into the fifteens program earlier in the 2021 World Cup cycle.

As a core piece in the new Road to 2021 Campaign for the Women’s National Team, the tiered structure provides athletes with much-needed transparency on where they stand within the larger setup of the program.

The Women’s Eagles 2019 Performance Squad features 21 forwards and 17 backs with 10 players still seeking their first cap.

General Manager for Women’s High Performance, Emilie Bydwell said: “Rob and staff have worked hard to create the necessary depth charts for the Women’s 15s program at the senior and age-grade levels. These have allowed us to form critical tiers within our playing group and better understand what our current playing group looks like now, versus what it could look like in two and a half years at Rugby World Cup. Announcing and supporting a Performance Squad annually will increase transparency, clarity and inter-competition allow us to best maximize our support structures and resources. Having a clear vision on how each tier of our senior player pool, age-grade groups and sevens residents interact, operate and continue to develop is critical. Developing a fully functional ecosystem that encompasses all of these layers has been a real priority for us.”

Women’s Eagles Head Coach Rob Cain said: “This announcement shows exciting times for the Women’s 15s Program with many more announcements to follow. This continues to show our determination in demonstrating how clear, transparent and supportive we are with our approach as a program. Through our tiered player pools and yearly calendar, we give everyone an equal opportunity with lots of platforms to pursue their dream of being an Eagle.

This inner competition and accountability will really allow the players to not only drive their playing ambitions but also keep everything contextual; allowing them to showcase themselves on a regular basis in the environment we create.”

For more information about the Women’s National Team’s Road to 2021 Campaign, visit

To support the Women’s Eagles in their endeavor to represent the United States at Rugby World Cup New Zealand 2021, click here.


General Manager of Women’s HP | Emilie BydwellHead Coach | Rob CainAssistant Coach | Richard AshfieldAssistant Coach | Kate DaleyAssistant Coach | Jamie Burke Assistant Coach & Athlete Mentor | Jenny LuiHead of Physical Performance | Ian JonesHead Performance Analyst | David GardnerHead Athletic Trainer | Bri Sparks Assistant Athletic Trainer | Katherine HenryTeam Doctor | Terrence CroninWomen’s HP Operations Manager | Liz Strohecker

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