BOULDER, Colo. – The coaching staffs for the second annual USA Rugby Stars and Stripes Camp have been selected.
More than 100 coaches applied for the 12 available staff positions. The coaches were selected through an online application, identification by current national team coaches, and the USA Rugby Coach Development Program in order to build the pool of high performance coaches to ensure the future development of USA Rugby.
Brendan Keane and Anna Kunkel, assistant coaches at last year’s camp in Greeley, Colo., will return to the University of Northern Colorado July 13-16 as head coaches. The new coaches include Women’s Eagles Mel Denham and Katie Dowty, who will bring their expertise with the senior national team to the young athletes.
Along with developing more than 90 young athletes during the week, the 12 selected coaches will also undergo coach development training with USA Rugby Coach Development staff, USA Rugby AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans Head Coach Danielle Miller, and Girls High School All-American Head Coach Mollie McCarthy.
“Though this is one of our biggest events for player talent identification, it is an even greater asset for coach development,” USA Rugby Coach Development Manager Josh Sutcliffe said. “That being said, we had tough decisions to make with the coaching staff selections due to the quality of the 100-plus applicants and we’re expecting great things from this group on and off of the field.”
Kelly Seary, an assistant coach at Harvard Women’s Rugby and the AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans, has been selected to coach the Girls Stars with Dowty and State College High School Girls Rugby Head Coach Bernard Cantorna as assistants. Dowty is an assistant coach at Central Washington University under teammate Denham.
Kunkel moves to the head-coaching role with the Girls Stripes after serving as an assistant coach with the Girls Stars last year. The former head coach at the University of Texas currently holds coaching positions with three rugby clubs, including the Kansas City Jazz Women’s Rugby Team and the Northland Men’s Rugby Team. Kunkel also coaches the Heartland Youth Rugby co-ed and boys (flag and contact) middle school teams. Recently-named Central Washington University Women’s Rugby Head Coach Denham and Marquette University Women’s Head Coach Shannon Bustillos will be Kunkel's assistant coaches.
Keane, head coach of the North Carolina Youth Rugby Association All-Star Program and lead coach at Eagle Impact Rugby Academy, Carolinas, will lead the Boys Stars team with Southern California Griffins Varsity High School All Stars Head Coach Scott Bracken and Wake Forest University Men’s Rugby Head Coach Justin Goonan.
Keane’s Stripes will play United Rugby Varsity Head Coach Colin Puriri’s Stars Wednesday, July 16. Eddie Abel, who serves as head coach of Broad Ripple Park Youth Rugby, Rugby Indiana’s U13, U15, U17, and U19 Select Sides, and Ball State University Men’s Rugby, and David Hamilton, currently the head coach of the North Carolina Regional All Star team, will serve as Puriri’s assistant coaches.
The Stars and Stripes Camp begins Sunday, July 13, and culminates with two matches between the respective Boys and Girls Stars and Stripes teams Wednesday, July 16. For more information, visit the Stars and Stripes event page.
USA Rugby Stars and Stripes Camp | Coaching Staff
Head Coach - Kelly Seary
Assistant Coach - Katie Dowty
Assistant Coach - Bernard Cantorna
Head Coach - Anna Kunkel
Assistant Coach - Mel Denham
Assistant Coach - Shannon Bustillos
Head Coach - Brendan Keane
Assistant Coach - Scott Bracken
Assistant Coach - Justin Goonan
Head Coach - Colin Puriri
Assistant Coach - Eddie Abel
Assistant Coach - David Hamilton