July 14, 2009
Caravelli Assembles Mix of Youth and Experience for Upcoming World Games
GLENDALE, Colo. – USA Men’s National Sevens Coach Al Caravelli has assembled a versatile mix of young and experienced players for the training camp leading into the World Games in Kaohsiung, China.
With eight Collegiate All-Americans, nine capped 15 players, one former Chicago Bear and several brand new faces to the sevens game, Caravelli has once again hand selected a variety of the best athletes America has to offer.
“I’m so excited about the quality of athletes at this assembly,” Caravelli said. “With the mixture of youth & experience it will be a blast to see how quickly the younger men come up to speed with the game of sevens.
“From a coaching perspective it’s exhilarating to work with inexperienced players who are gifted athletically, just as these men are, but it’s also a great challenge to prepare them for the obstacles that lie ahead at the World Games.”
With the last of the players arriving in Denver yesterday afternoon, the squad will now train for the next five days at Infinity Park, in Glendale, Colo. The squad will undergo fitness testing and a scrimmage against the local Denver side, before Caravelli selects the 12 he wants to make the trip to China on Sunday.
“It’s great to have Jone Naqica back,” Caravelli said. “He’s our player with the most IRB Series appearances. Jason Pye returns from injury after have an excellent Hong Kong tournament in 2008 and Justin Boyd played in six of the eight series tournaments this last season and had his best year so far.
“In addition, I’m really looking forward to seeing how our first time camp attendees will hold up,” he added. “Peter Dahl, who would have been to a camp last season, but was ruled out due to an injury, is 100% now and in the player pool. The All-Americans are gifted rugby players and athletes and show how our college programs continue to produce quality.”
Colin Hawley, Dustin Muhn, Brendan Omeara, Clint Whittler, Richard Herbert are new to the Sevens camp and join the other All-Americans returning from the last IRB Sevens tournament including Marco Barnard, Blaine Scully, Alex Ross and Steve St. Pierre.
Also returning from the last two sevens events are veterans Thretton Palamo, P.J. Komongnan, Tai Enosa and Corey Blair. Other first time camp attendees are Ata Malifa, who like Dahl has been on the verge of attending a camp for over a year, and Leonard Peters, who comes to the assembly from the University of Hawaii where he was a standout football player. Originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2007, Peters was on the Chicago Bears practice squad in 2008 and displays the professionalism and demeanor that Caravelli welcomes to this team.
The Rugby Sevens competition at the 2009 World Games will take place on July 24-25 and will see the newly-crowned IRB Sevens World Series champions, South Africa, head one pool and Series runners-up and defending World Games champions, Fiji, the other pool in a strong line-up featuring nations from six continents.
The U.S. will kick off their campaign against Portugal, before facing hosts Chinese Taipei and South Africa. Fiji looks to defend their Championship and face pool matches against Hong Kong, Japan, and Argentina in day one.
The beauty of Sevens is largely due to its competitive and unpredictable nature and with South Africa, Fiji and Argentina recording tournament victories in the IRB Sevens World Series this year and the USA making a semifinal for the first time, the competition promises to be intense.
Ron Froehlich, President of the International World Games Association, believes that the inclusion of some of the world’s finest Sevens teams, will add to the renowned international flavor of the World Games.
“The Rugby Sevens tournament has grown to become a highlight of the World Games sporting program, providing an exciting spectacle for fans and participants alike. The inclusion of some of the world’s best Sevens teams from every corner of the world will broaden the Games’ global appeal even further.”
The tournament is held under the authority of the International World Games Association (IWGA), comprising the 32 International Sports Federations governing sports recognized by the IOC but not in the Olympic Games.
The Games are held under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Sevens is one of the seven sports currently being considered for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games – the other sports are softball, baseball, karate, golf, squash and roller sports.
“The team is extremely excited about attending the World Games on the eve of the IOC’s vote for rugby’s inclusion into the Olympic Games,” Caravelli said. “It gives our athletes the opportunity to compete along with other World Class athletes before the Pan Am Games in 2011. It will give them the experience of competing for a medal and more importantly, it will give the spectators a glimpse of the wonderful sport we play.
“The speed, endurance and athleticism these phenomenal athletes posses in rugby sevens is truly a sight to behold,” he added. “It also gives us a jump on selecting athletes that we would not see until our national selection camp in September. This gives them the experience to compete for spots on the squad and play some very tough competition. It’s a win, win all around.”
The U.S. Sevens Player Pool
Marco Barnard (Kutztown)
Cory Blair (Belmont Shore)
Justin Boyd (Belmont Shore)
Peter Dahl (Belmont Shore)
Tai Enosa (Tempe)
Colin Hawley (California)
Richard Herbert (Cal Poly)
P.J. Komongnan (Northern Virgina)
Ata Malifa (Belmont Shore)
Dustin Muhn (California)
Jone Naqica (San Francisco Golden Gate)
Brendan Omeara (Saint Mary’s)
Thretton Palamo (San Francisco Golden Gate)
Leonard Peters (Gentlemen of Aspen)
Jason Pye (Gentlemen of Aspen)
Alex Ross (San Diego State University)
Blaine Scully (California)
Steve St. Pierre (Brigham Young Univeristy)
Clint Whittler (Arkansas State)
Kevin Swiryn (Old Puget Sound Beach)
Inspiring America to fall in love with Rugby
Sara John | Director of Communications | USA Rugby
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