The USA Rugby AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans have announced the traveling squad for the U20 Nations Cup in Nottingham, England.
The WJAAs are composed of female rugby players aged 17-20 and compete internationally against U20 teams from other countries. It is the first international experience for female rugby players in the USA Rugby Development Pathway.
The goal of the program is to identify the future Women's National Team World Cup and Sevens Olympic players and start their development process. The players’ experience at the WJAA level will help them succeed with the senior teams as they learn how to handle the pressure and pace of international matches.
The pathway for the players to be selected to the traveling squad began this winter. Over 350 female athletes applied to the four regional camps in March. 160 girls attended the regional camps in Atlanta, Ga., Fullerton, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Herndon, Va. The regional camps were a developmental opportunity for the ladies and provided a launch pad for 40 of the players to continue on in the selection process for the summer tour.
“I enjoyed seeing all the girls at the regional camps,” WJAAs Head Coach Danielle Miller said. “The girls that attended had great attitudes, showed their potential and demonstrated learning over the weekend camp. It provided a great opportunity to see many new players without a large burden of travel for them.”
The 2012 year was a transition year for the WJAA coaching staff, as well as the age-grade programs in the Unites States as the SBROs started running the age-grade all-star programs. During this transition year, not all SBROs were represented at the Regional All-Star Tournaments. The WJAA coaches wanted to see more players who missed the opportunity to be represented during the transition and have a high performance development camp for many of the girls in this age group.
Some of the players that were identified from the regional camps for their first time with the WJAA program were selected from the Herndon Camp: Miranda Previte, LauraBen Moore, Gabriella Cantorna, Brianna Troyer, and Jasmine Dennis. The Atlanta Camp identified new players Markliann Hoyne, Chidinma “Chi Chi” Chukwueke, Alexandria Schmid, and Kyra Horne. Portland Camp participants brought in new players Anne Peterson – who recently appeared in the Women’s Eagles’ win against France June 7 – and Alyssa Bishop. Fullerton Camp players Stacy Wong, Maya Learned, Harley Moeller, and Lauren Butler were also identified for the team. Many of the other regional camp participants will be found this summer on the Girls High School All-Americans and the Women’s Collegiate All-Americans.
The 2013 U20 Nations Cup will be held in Nottingham, England, at Trent College. The WJAAs will play their first match against Canada Thursday, July 11, at 12:00 P.M. ET. The WJAAs will then play South Africa Sunday, July 14, at 9:00 A.M. ET, then Wednesday, July 17, at 2:00 P.M. ET against England. The Final will be held on Sunday, July 21, with the third place match at 9:00 A.M. ET and the championship match at 12:00 P.M. ET.
The 2011 U20 Nations Cup, held in Santa Barbara, Calif., finished with England on top, the WJAAs placing second, and Canada taking third place. South Africa finished in fourth.
“The WJAA coaching staff has high expectations of the 2013 squad,” Miller said. “We have a competitive group that is fit and strong. We have some experienced WJAA players returning for the tour who participated in the 2011 U20 Nations Cup. They are Dot Mittow, Amee Svatos, and Meya Bizer. Anne Peterson, Meya Bizer and Hope Rogers are joining the WJAAs after being selected to play for the Women’s Eagles in the France test series in June.”
It is an exciting time to be in the All-American pathway as the players have many developmental opportunities. The All-Americans will enter the Senior Teams (15s or sevens) with many international matches and high performance camp experiences. By identifying players in the All-American Pathway, they will have access to many fast-paced matches and high level of domestic competition at the camps. This may increase their skill level to be able to seamlessly enter the senior programs to assist them to reach the WNTs’ goal to be on the podium as a top finisher.
This program is not fully funded and the players do have to pay a player fee to attend the tour. The WJAAs are asking for financial support to help these young ladies succeed at the U20 Nations Cup this summer and give them the experience needed to help the WNTs be successful in the World Cup and the Olympics. Please consider donating any amount and receive a tax deduction here.
USA AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans Traveling Squad | U20 Nations Cup
Dorothy Mittow (Princeton)
Maxine Fonua (Stanford)
Danielle Ciocco (Penn State University)
LauraBen Moore (Brandeis University)
Hope Rogers (Penn State University)
Markliann Hoyne (Texas A&M)
Megan Pinson (Fallbrook High School)
Chidinma "Chi Chi" Chukwueke (Georgia Tech)
Hannah Price (Clemson, University)
Hayley Langan (South Burlington High School)
Kelsey Harris (Penn State University)
Amee Svatos (Pandas Varsity Rugby, British Columbia, Canada)
Elizabeth Cairns (Penn State University)
Jordan Gray (BYU)
Katana Howard (University of Minnesota)
Cassidy Meyers (Kent High School)
Miranda Previte (Rutgers University)
Anne Peterson (Washington State University)
Gabriella Cantorna (State College High School)
Natalie Kosko (Quinnipiac University)
Stephanie Browne (University of Florida)
Nicole Heavirland (Exeter High School)
Brianna Troyer (Penn State University)
Stacey Wong (University of California Berkley)
Margaret Myles (West Carroll High School)
Meya Bizer (Penn State University)
USA Rugby AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans | Non-Traveling Reserves
Karen Strunk (University of Indiana)
Tracy Poch (Hilo Reign Rugby)
Alexandria Schmid (Georgia Tech)
Maya Learned (Glendale Raptors High School)
Genevieve Ireland (University of California Berkley)
Haley Anderson (Summit High School)
Alyssa Bishop (Oregon State University)
Genna Joyce (Armstrong High School)
Jasmine Dennis (University of Michigan)
Kyra Horne (MIT)
McKenzie Lane (Fullerton High School)
Harley Moeller (San Diego Surfers)
Samantha Gaither (Mother lode High School)
Lauren Butler (University of California Berkley)
Gretchen Shaw (Bishop O’Dowd High School)
USA Rugby Women’s Junior All-Americans | Coaching Staff
Danielle Miller - Head Coach
Kelly Seary – Assistant Coach
Wil Snape – Assistant Coach
Jordan Barber – Team Manager
Sarah Leslie – Team Trainer
Nick Miller – Strength and Conditioning Specialist