USA RUGBY – The USA Women’s U18 7s team will assemble in December for the second stop on the Global School 7s, bringing international teams to Auckland, New Zealand on Dec 15-17. [The first stop on the series is in Australia on Dec. 9-10.] Formerly World School 7s, the yearly tournament has long been a showcase for the next generation of talent, and the addition of a women’s bracket extends that opportunity for the U18 players in the USA Rugby Pathways system. Lead photo: Kiyanah Edwards in red / by Pat Moroney
Martha Daines and the USA Women’s High Performance Pathways staff have selected a traveling team and non-traveling reserves for the tournament, scouting coast-to-coast through U18 East and West regional camps and tournaments over the summer. The summer camps were held at Mt. Saint Mary’s University (Md.) in the East, and Utah State University in the West, and introduced nearly 80 prospective athletes to a high-performance skills academy while considering New Zealand selections. The traveling squad will also assemble in Chula Vista this November in preparation for Global School 7s. Thanks to key donors, recurring supporter members and the Golden Eagles, little to no financial barrier will be a factor for the selected players to participate in New Zealand.
“This team is full of exceptional athletes who we think could contribute to our success in the 2028 Olympics and beyond,” Daines said. “Participating in this tournament will give them the opportunity to see what the international standard of play is for their age group, and to experience the challenge of performing while traveling in a different country. I look forward to seeing the growth that results.”
2023 will be the first time the USA Women’s U18s will participate in the Global School 7s, sparking an opportunity for young 7s prospects to train alongside the senior national team and immerse themselves in an international 7s tournament. Former USA 7s Eagle Irene Gardner will lead the team as head coach, with Kelly Griffin and Lauren Barber slated to support and mentor preparations in November.
“November camp will mimic a high-performance environment with training sessions on and off the pitch, including introductions to performance nutrition and mental skills,” Gardner said. “The players will get familiar with each other as they become attuned to the pace and style of play we are looking to achieve.
“Our staff is incredibly proud to support our U18 academy players in this upcoming experience,” she added. “The opportunity to play in an international tournament will undoubtedly enhance the confidence, leadership, and future journeys of these talented athletes.”
Match schedules have yet to be confirmed, with live-stream information expected from tournament organizers shortly. Follow along at @globalyouth7s on Instagram for more coverage.
USA WOMEN’S U18 7s TRAVELING ROSTER
Collegians’ high school rugby teams included in parentheses
|Paola Arredondo Almeida||Dartmouth College (Summit, CO)|
|Rebecca Balladares||West Carroll, MD|
|Chloe de Leon||Carmel, IN|
|Kiyanah Edwards||Columbia Central, TN|
|Kori Fields||Long Island University (St Mary’s, CA)|
|Anneliese Henrich||Orchard Park, NY|
|Lilian Harmoni Hopoate||Majestics, UT|
|Madison Jersey||Lindenwood University (Fallbrook, CA)|
|Marley Larkin||Majestics, UT|
|Lionala Mayorga||Davenport University (Majestics, UT)|
|Vasiti Turagavou||Provo, UT|
|Lola Unga||Wolverines, CA|
|Annabella Vogel||Knightmares, PA|
|Emerson Callegari*||Texas Nuclear Thunder|
|Samantha Levine*||Rancho Bernardo/SD Mustangs, CA|
|Ellie Mahe*||United, UT|
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