The governing body of rugby in the United States of America, USA Rugby has announced that seven women’s players have signed full-time training contracts with the union. The seven female athletes make history as the first-ever USA Women’s National team players to be contracted by USA Rugby. There are slots for eight players, meaning one player has yet to sign her contract, but as soon as the last contract is signed, all of the eight full-time residency squad spots will have been filled.
The eight resident athletes will leave nearby the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista and have full-time access to the facilities and staff at the OTC including trainers, nutritionists, sports psychologists, and the coaching staff.The players that Head Coach Ric Suggitt and USA Rugby CEO and President of Rugby Operations, Nigel Melville, selected address the current needs of the team, but there is always an eye on the 2016 Olympic Games and the qualification tournaments leading up to 2016.
Suggitt prioritized getting the right eight players on contracts before he looked to expand the squad and his selection indicates an emphasis on youth and developing young players. The average age of the contracted players is 25, so many of the athletes will be in their athletic prime in 2016.
A typical sevens team traveling squad consists of 12 players, so pre-tournament camp rosters will be supplemented by a ‘taxi squad’ to help fill the 12-player roster. The eight residents are not guaranteed a spot on the traveling team and the taxi squad will be able to compete for an opportunity to represent the USA in international competition.
The residents are presently making their way to Chula Vista and once they arrive, they will immediately begin preparing for the 2011 USA Women’s International Sevens Invitational in Las Vegas in February.
Bui Baravilala (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Katie Dowty (San Ramon, Calif.)
Kelly Griffin (Oakland, Calif.)
Kaelene Lundstrum (Bird Island, Minn.)
Vanesha McGee (Ewing, N.J.)
Devin Owsiany (Royersford, Pa.)
Kimber Rozier (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
With Thanks: USA Rugby