Dan Lyle has joined the USA 7s management team, adding momentum to the tournament’s fresh start in San Diego.
The former Bath (England) and USA standout will undertake a broad portfolio as director of rugby, responsible for event logistics, business development in the local community, and relations with other International Rugby Board 7s tournaments.
“The IRB World Sevens Series is one of the most intense and exciting competitions in international rugby, truly an Olympic-caliber event. That makes the USA 7s a fantastic opportunity to properly establish our game in America’s sporting culture,” Lyle said in an interview.
“I’m really looking forward to working in San Diego, where we’ve had a first-class reception from the mayor and civic leaders. The San Diego Padres and the local rugby community have also been key supporters,” he said between meetings.
The high-profile addition closely follows the tournament’s move to Petco Park after three years at Los Angeles’ Home Depot Center, where it was deeply unprofitable. Now privately owned, the 7s received a further shot in the arm earlier this year when the IRB renewed its license for five years.
A former All-American tight end turned eighthman, Lyle played 45 internationals over a ten-year career, including the 1999 and 2003 World Cups, after which he was named to an all-tournament team. Eagle skipper on 24 occasions, he was nicknamed “Captain America” by the overseas press, and his name endures among the grassroots, as Americans abroad are sometimes generically nicknamed “Lyle.”
During his eight-year pro career in the English Premiership, Lyle served as a member of the Players Association Executive committee and was involved in collective bargaining agreements, television arrangements, and player welfare and risk management issues during the transition from the amateur to professional era.
At USA Rugby, he most recently authored a three-year, $2.8 million “high performance” grant for the identification and training of elite players. On administrative leave following the departure of chief executive Doug Arnot, Lyle will not return to the union, he said.
San Diego marks a homecoming for Lyle, who helped OMBAC to a national 7s title in 1995 and national 15s honors in 1996, the team’s most recent 15s championship prior to this past season. Club men including Bob Watkins, Nevin Kleege, and Paul Yahnke have been squarely behind bringing the USA 7s to the California’s second-biggest city.
As in past years, the USA 7s tournament is slated for the second weekend in February, the 10th and 11th, following the New Zealand 7s in Wellington.
Related: USA 7s moving to San Diego