BOULDER, Colo. – The coach that will help develop the next generation of Olympic rugby hopefuls has been named by USA Rugby. Tony Pacheco will coach the USA Rugby Men’s Collegiate All-American Sevens team and work to prepare the athletes for the demands of senior international rugby.
With the inclusion of seven-a-side rugby in the 2016 Summer Olympics, USA Rugby has prioritized the development of sevens athletes in order to prepare Team USA for Rio 2016 and the preceding qualification process.
Pacheco had an excellent playing career as a USA Under-19, was a standout at Kentwood Rugby Club, and a member of The Olympic Club. Pacheco followed his playing career with an impressive sevens coaching record as an assistant at Old Puget Sound Beach and head coach at Central Washington University.
The new coach looks forward to the opportunity to work with the best men’s college rugby athletes in the country and will prepare the team to compete in the Emirates Airline USA Rugby Men’s All-Star Sevens National Championships from August 17-19 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
Pacheco scouted the Collegiate Rugby Championship Invitational in Philadelphia, Pa. last weekend (June 2-3) and will attend the Men’s Collegiate All-American camp in Houston in June, and work with collegiate rugby coaches around the country to identify players for the team.
“I’m looking for players who play unselfishly, create space for their teammates, and make their teammate look like the All-American,” said Pacheco of the attributes he’s seeking in an All-American Sevens athlete.
The role the new coach will play within the high performance pathway is crucial and working with other elite level coaches such as Salty Thompson with the High School All-Americans, Scott Lawrence with the Junior All-Americans, Matt Sherman the head coach of the All-American fifteens team, and Alexander Magleby the USA Men’s Eagle Sevens head coach, is key to success.
Magleby was the CAA7s Head Coach last year and since that time, three of the players on that team (Duncan Kelm, Rocco Mauer, and Will Holder) have either been invited to a National Team camp or earned an international sevens cap for the USA, a positive indication for the program moving forward.
Coordinating and aligning the Xs and Os on the field is important, but equally important is having a similar culture and similar expectations on and off the field. In that regard, Pacheco will work very closely with the National Team coaches to ensure players have a clear sense of what they need to do if they hope to wear the red, white, and blue at the senior international level.