For Immediate Release
July 30, 2009
City-Based 7s League Tournament a Huge Success
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – USA Rugby successfully concluded its pilot City-Based 7s League with an exciting day of elite sevens rugby on Sunday, July 26.
About 70 athletes from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC played a total of 12 games, displaying the lessons they learned from a two week training program, which included skills and sevens principles from the USA Women’s National Sevens Program.
“I was impressed with the level of play and the incredibly positive atmosphere of the day,” said Sue Parker, USA Women’s Sevens Head Coach. “It was great to see players new to the game of sevens be able to step up and play with the Eagles’ players. The level of athleticism was good and there was a real commitment by the players to try and do what they had learned in practice.”
Hosted by the Keystone Rugby Club at Friendship Field in Phoenixville Pa., the tournament was designed to be more developmental than competitive. The coaches worked together on selections to make sure that players were not out of their depth and that all players had opportunities to play with and against the elite sevens players.
“The coaches worked together really well,” said Boston Coach, Richard Ashfield. “There was a wide range of experience in each team, so we collaborated to make sure players were able to be successful when they were on the pitch.”
The goals of the CBL program are to identify new sevens athletes and to begin to hopefully develop them into national team caliber players. The CBL teams recruited both experienced sevens players as well as athletes who have not played much, if any, sevens rugby and all the players were provided with skill and conditioning programs.
“We had a couple of games specifically for the less experienced players, who really stepped up,” said New York coach Mark Bowker. “While we all talked about how this was developmental, the players brought a great competitive spirit. The games were very intense.”
Washington, DC coach Peter Baggetta shared those sentiments, adding, “It was great to see the new players pick up the game and play so well. Most clubs don’t have organized sevens, and in the past it was really the Atlantis program where most players learned to play. The CBL is now another place a player can learn the game.”
While scoring and results were not important, the tournament ended with a “final” between New York and Washington DC. It was a game of All-Star quality.
“It was a great day for women’s sevens in the U.S.” said Peter Steinberg, coach of the Philadelphia team and CBL Coordinator. “We have had a good response from the athletes, and to have the coaches and managers work so hard to pull this off with such short notice was really exciting. We also need to thank the referees who also did their part in making the day such a success.”
During the development stages, Parker provided coaches with a guide to ensure that the teams were following the USA National Team approach with a particular focus on skill development and game understanding as the CBL is pathway into the USA Women’s Sevens program.
“The Coaches’ Guide was really useful,” Ashfield said. “It gave us the outcomes and the areas of focus for each practice, but also allowed us to be flexible to meet the needs of each team.”
The development materials will remain available at the League’s website www.citybased7s.com.
Parker spent the entire day scouting and was happy to see experienced sevens players honing their games, and helping younger players.
“Part of the reason the CBL pilot was a success was because the presence of experienced players enhanced the developmental process for the younger players,” Parker commented. “All of the coaches were thrilled to see the level of play demonstrated by newer players. They really shined.”
Parker plans to invite some of them to participate with the USA Developmental Team at the USA Rugby National All-Star Sevens Tournament in August.
“Today we saw many players, whom, if they are willing to make a commitment, realistically could aspire to play internationally,” Parker said. “Training and playing with the Developmental Team will be a good opportunity for some of them to be exposed to an elite environment. “
USA Rugby is already looking to expand the CBL next year both in terms of teams and the developmental program.
“The pilot went very well, despite significant time constraints,” Parker said. “Next year we aim to expand the League to a total of eight to 12 cities, enhance our ability to recruit cross-over athletes and increase the time each team has for development. We believe that the CBL can be a key driver for the growth and development of women’s sevens in this country.”
Players, coaches or sponsors that are interested in participating in this City-Based 7s League can get more information at www.citybased7s.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.