For Immediate Release
March 14, 2011
Boy’s High School All-Americans have big year planned
BOULDER, Colo. – In the last five months, the Boy’s High School All-Americans (HSAAs) have landed a major sponsor, fielded the first ever HSAA sevens team and booked a summer tour to South Africa. All of these developments will give the best high school rugby players in the country valuable rugby and life experiences.
The Boy’s HSAAs are the USA’s youngest junior national team and selection to the HSAAs is an entry point for many players into a high performance pathway that concludes with senior national team selection. Former HSAAs account for 25 of the current U20-Junior All-Americans in the player pool for the 2011 Junior World Rugby Trophy this summer, evidence that the All-American pathway is pumping players into higher rugby ranks and developing talent early to ensure future success.
HSAAs LAND MAJOR SPONSOR
Due to a major sponsorship from Aircraft Charter Solutions, an industry leader in aircraft management, air carrier support, and aviation consulting, the HSAAs will be able to travel to South Africa on a July Tour, giving the players a taste of international rugby and touring, a longtime All-American tradition. The trip will mark the culmination of the 2011 HSAA cycle.
“We are thrilled to be associated with the growing sport of rugby in America, as well as the proud All-American brand. We believe rugby has a promising future in America and that future begins with the development of the best young players,” said Robin Reid of Aircraft Charter Solutions.
“We are excited to be supporting the High School All-Americans in the opportunity to experience international competition and rugby touring, and we are very pleased to help make this a reality.”
“Aircraft Charter Solutions has done much more than funding a summer tour, they have given America’s brightest young rugby players an opportunity to elevate their game, create enduring memories, and play rugby at an extremely high level in South Africa. It’s sponsorships like this one that invest not only in the sport, but in the futures of young men,” said USA Rugby Sponsorship Manager, Eric Taber.
REAL POTENTIAL AND HSAA SEVENS
At a December camp at the University of California – Santa Barbara, the All-Americans defeated the Canada Under-17s 44-29. While there are wheels in the backs, the front row players caught HSAA Head Coach Salty Thompson’s eye.
Front rowers Henry Hall (St. George’s School), Maka Tameilau (Peninsula Seahawks), and Cameron Falcon (Shaw Eagle Rugby) showed Thompson that they had “real potential” and have made a case for themselves to be on the touring squad this summer.
The All-Americans met again in February in Las Vegas and entered two sevens teams in the “Age-Grade Elite 7s” tournament.
The HSAAs responded well to the tournament atmosphere and the sevens experience, but they also pleased their coach with their on-field performance.
A center in fifteens and prop in sevens, George Naufahu (San Mateo) impressed Thompson in Vegas, as did Riley Locker (Chuckanut), Alex Taefu (Tempe), Jesse Milne (Piedmont), Richard Korvick (Kansas City Blues), and Jack McAuliffe (Gonzaga H.S.).
A strong sevens resume ups a player’s stock in fifteens and Thompson knows that coaches who stress both sevens and fifteens see their players develop skills that can be overlooked and/or under-coached in fifteens.
“The value of sevens for young players is tremendous in that it demands skills that sometime remain dormant or underdeveloped in fifteens,” said Thompson.
With the inclusion of rugby sevens the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games, today’s High School All-Americans will be in their athletic prime when rugby reappears in the Olympics, but athletes will need to be versed in sevens if they hope to take part.
Thompson has been involved with age-grade rugby and scouting for years, which gives him an expansive network across the country of coaches who recommend players and help Thompson identify talent.
Thompson is always looking for players and talent to add depth to his squad. Ongoing selection is based upon player performance in domestic competitions, playoffs, and championships as well as regional All-Star tournaments. Player nominations can be made by coaches using this form: http://tinyurl.com/playernomination.
The Boy’s High School All-Americans have a Spring Camp from April 21-24 at Arizona State University and will tentatively depart for their South African tour on July 18, returning on July 31. Opponents and a schedule for the tour will be announced closer to the tour date.
ABOUT THE ALL-AMERICAN PROGRAM
The All-American program selects the best rugby players in the country based on performance in domestic rugby competitions. Selected players attend high performance training camps throughout the year and, unlike other sports in which All-Americans are named but never compete as a team, rugby All-Americans compete in domestic and international matches.
In addition to recognizing outstanding rugby players, the All-American program is a development pathway to international honors. The program identifies and develops talent and character in order to prepare athletes for higher levels of rugby and life outside of the game. Beginning with the High School All-Americans, a player may progress to the U20-Junior All-Americans, and finally reach the pinnacle of the All-American program and become a Collegiate All-American.
All-American rugby has been in existence for more than a century in the United States. The original Collegiate All-American team, originally titled an “American Universities” team, traveled to New Zealand and Australia in 1910, marking the first ever American rugby tour. The All-American crest, adorned with 13 stars and stripes is the same one those athletes wore on the inaugural All-American tour and the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, a nod to America’s rugby and national heritage.