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21 May 2008

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USA Rugby wasn't far behind all the Tier 1 nations at that time. As amateurs the athletes were of equal par for the most part. The other nations had superior competitions domestically, and they had the advantage of playing from the time they were young.

If USA Rugby had some strong leadership, they would have realized that the best thing they could do would be to grow youth rugby. That was 20 years ago, and if they had even marginally succeeded we would be looking at having a few thousand players in the USA that would have been playing rugby for 20 years and still be in their late 20s. Of those few thousand players enough would have been able to impact college rugby and the national team.

Think if college rugby had an influx of young players with youth rugby experience like we are seeing now back in 87. What would college rugby look like now? What would the Eagle pool of players look like?

Opportunity Lost!

Why not start looking forward instead of this continual whining about what if? I think it is great that you still see that these former players are still involved in the game - Purcell coaches high school, Everett coaches college, Saunders is coaching at one of the highest levels and Lambert is part of the staff for the U-20. Stop moaning and start helping.

I assume you are talking to Kurt, because I am just commenting on his trip down memory lane.

By the way, what are you doing?

If Scott Johnson cannot come up with a plan / players to challenge Canada in 18 months then he shouldn't be coaching. My guess is that he isn't going to be spending the next 18 months looking for excuses as to why the Eagles will fail.

One suggestion for Scott. Train and play in Aspen - the Canucks will be gaspen!

Nigel Melville is doing a good job getting the Eagles game time. The U-20 team going to Wales in June has a couple very solid prospects.

The Eagle future is bright. As AA suggested - move forward. The past cannot be undone and the future holds great potential.

I'm looking forward to heading out to Chicago for the CC and then seeing the Eagles here in Boston when they take on Munster.

A MAJOR ALERT TO ALL REFEREES FROM COACHES:

Please ignore the recent article penned by Elmer Fudd on what coaches want from referees. This man doesn't speak for us, please ignore him.

Thank you, Coaches

I have to agree with ALERT!!

As much as there needs to be a level of communication and understanding between coaches and referees, this "buckle your chin strap" yahoo is doing more to create issues between coaches and referees than anything else.

Please, take this yahoo for nothing more than the blow hard that he is.

And please, ARN stop giving him the platform to pontificate about things that he thinks he knows!!!

I have to agree with ALERT!!

As much as there needs to be a level of communication and understanding between coaches and referees, this "buckle your chin strap" yahoo is doing more to create issues between coaches and referees than anything else.

Please, take this yahoo for nothing more than the blow hard that he is.

And please, ARN stop giving him the platform to pontificate about things that he thinks he knows!!!

Hey "those were the days" - what do you think I do? I coach. All of the guys who coach with me moan about missed opportunities and we moan about the players who can't go on to the next level because it doesn't exist, but we try to give back to game that we all enjoy. At least the players today can actually watch it on TV and on the web. These kids come to training talking about Super 14 and H Cup. Maybe the next generation is right around the corner. Go out and be a part of it and stop constant bashing. It gets tiring.

Anyone have an idea as to who this Gavin DeBartolo guy is who's been named in the Churchill squad? Is he the American playing in Australia who posted a few times on here as "Louie?" My google research indicates that he was born and raised in Sydney, so I'm wondering how he qualifies for the Eagles. An American parent? It looks like he's been tearing it up in Australia, so I'm excited to see him.

He was on the Western Force last year in the Super 14, but didn't make the squad this year. He has a ton of pace. Not sure on how he qualifies for the Eagles.

Looks like he might make an impact. Good to see that Coach Johnson has already uncovered a pretty good player


http://aru.rugby.com.au/news/turinui:_debartolo_could_go_up,70698.html

I agree that building and supporting youth programs is the key to our future success at the international level. I further believe that USA Rugby's focus on a single-school model for high school rugby is misguided and at cross purposes with the higher priority of developing youth programs. At this stage of development it is too early for a single-school model - we don't yet have enough youth participation to support it. I coach youth for Lamorinda. We have almost 300 kids between the ages of 6 and 18. Unfortunately, 300 kids are far too few to support separate HS programs at each of the 3 or 4 schools we draw from. We would need to triple to adequately support a single-school model (and God knows where we will get the fields..).

And another thing... not to sound too California-centric, but look at your list of '87 Eagles above. Almost all of them played club in CA, with a majority having played for either Belmont Shore or OMBAC (mostly OMBAC). When I see the Eagle U17 and U18 squads with boatloads of kids from everywhere but CA, I just shake my head. I guess selecting a bunch of kids from PA makes sense to someone. If CA and UT are the states playing the best HS rugby, why aren't most of the rep-side kids coming from these states? If the top collegiate and club rugby is being played in CA, then why aren't most of the Eagles coming from there.

Curious.

You can't turn out 3-4 teams with 300 student player pool?????

It takes 900 students to form 4 teams of 15??

U-20 & u-17 coaches are not trying to put the best team possible on the field??

Interesting theories.

Perhaps we need to look at a season similar to HS baseball. A spring season for high school teams followed by American Legion "all star" teams during the summer.

That way rugby can mainstream in the high schools, and dinosaurs like Highland and Lamorinda can still have a purpose.

Old beav, check your bifocals. Leskan said "We have almost 300 kids between the ages of 6 and 18." That's not all high school aged kids. If you do the math, it is about 20 kids per year. So that would make about 80 high school aged kids....

The logic that HS specific teams is a bad idea flies in the face of the logic that college specific teams is better than region U21 or U22 teams.

If you support the college specific team logic, you have to support the high school specific logic.

Pete's got it right: we're not using the 6 year olds for HS. No, we have a program with U9, U11, U13, U15, Frosh-soph, Varsity Silver and Varsity Gold. Much of the competition for the younger kids comes from intersquad - in-house - games. (Reversable jerseys do the trick.)

Old beav, if you can't see the value and the 'purpose' of growing a program from mini's through HS, if that is too dinosaurish for you, then I think you are living in a pretty dark cave. The 'purpose' is to share our love of the game with the kids that represent its future; to give these kids opportunities most of us, who only found the game in college, never had.

If Lamo and Highland (and SFGG and Marin and Utah United and Mother Lode and all the other multi-school programs) are dinosaurs, then the future is bleak indeed. Right now the only schools that can compete in a single-school model are the private schools - who themselves are basically created from pools of atheletes from throughout their regions. There are very few public HS's that can generate the bodies and resources to compete as single-schools. I look forward to the day when this is not the case, when we have attracted enough of these young rugby players to support a 'mainstream' single-school HS rugby standard. We are just not there yet. Rushing the process will only undermine the little successes we are presently achieving.

Beav, regarding the rep-side selectors and coaches, I think they probably do want to put the best side on the field - so long as their territory (and their family?) is well represented. I know this is a cynical suggestion, but the proof seems to be on the rosters and in the results.

To draw a parallel to soccer in the 50s/60s/70s...

For the most part the only single-school leagues out there were private school leagues. While there were a few public schools with teams, they were often spread out, or focused in metro areas with big expat populations.

Anyone else had to play "Selects", "Travelling", or "House" within youth club programs, which usually hosted both spring and fall seasons.

This is the best model for youth rugby in the near term. Working to some "national" championship is a folly in and of itself.

It does more harm than good, by imposing arbitrary calendars on how best for local teams to create a season.

The local folks are much more in tune with their needs (when field space is available, school calendars, etc.). Crown you local champ, and then play some one-off invitationals which are negotiated bilaterally between leagues. Lacrosse does this (the CONN-NY championship).

If there is critical mass out there for single-school leagues, more power to them. That just means they are further ahead in the development of the sport.

However, my forcing a national structure upon everybody, USARFU is in a sense asking too much of the "younger" leagues -- and possibly stunting their growth by asking them to grow up too quickly.

Before soccer went varsity, there were tons of HS age "club" teams out there.

From a college coaching perspective single school programs are much easier when recruiting. Typically the coach is an employee of the school (teacher or admin) and they provide 2 things that a coach of a mulit-school club can not.

1) It is part of their job to help the kid get into college, so they are more active participant in the process

2) Typically they have an influence on the kid's parents because they are from the learning institution the kid attends.

These are great advantages for a college coach, and anything to help a HS rugby player to move from a good HS program to a good college program is a plus for all of USA Rugby.

It will take recruiting of 6 year olds to catch up, and it will take 20 years, IF we get talented coaches involved with Youth and IF their rugby experience is the most fun they've ever had in their lives.

Mike - I think that was the point of the first post.

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