USA Rugby has announced an upgraded women’s performance pathway to help develop its elite athletes. The pathway includes establishing a rugby academy system across a range of levels.
The USA will also host an international 7s event next month in Las Vegas featuring at least six invitational teams.
The USA Women's International 7s tournament will be held in conjunction with the Las Vegas 7s. The tournament on February 11-12 will feature the international sides of the USA, Canada, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Brazil with a few othe teams to be added.
The inclusion of Spain and Brazil will pitch the European and South American champions together in what should be a quality competition.
The upgraded womens high performance (WHP) pathway plan features annual performance cycles, elite and open trials, continuity in coaching and playing systems, as well as a rugby academy system.
Points of entry into the pathway include strong performances during youth, high school, college and club level seasons and championships, various open trials, and All-Star competitions at each level, in both sevens and fifteens.
WHP selectors include the Head Coaches of all National Teams, the Womens High Performance Director, and a network of scouts.
The USA are still on the hunt for a national head coach after the retirement of Kathy Flores following the Womens Rugby World Cup.
Beginning this month a January camp will kick off a new WHP development cycle. Athletes who have been identified during the prior year will be invited to an Elite Trials Camp. In 2011, the camp will be for all athletes who are 20 and older. The first Elite Trials Camp will be held in Lakeland, Florida from January 14-17. A parallel camp will be added in January 2012 for Under-20 prospects.
Following each January camp, Elite and Developmental Academies at the Senior, Collegiate, and High School levels will be named for the year.
The athletes selected into these Academies will receive continued assessment and development during the course of the year through both remote delivery and assemblies. In 2011, the Senior and Collegiate Academies will start and the High School Academy will begin in 2012.