BOULDER, Colo. – Jason Kelly, a former USA Eagle and backs coach with the USA Under-20 team, has been hired by USA Rugby as the new Men’s Junior All-American (U-20) team head coach. Kelly will lead the men’s team through several regional camps this spring, as well as the 2013 World Junior Championships next summer.
(Premier Members see a detailed interview with Jason Kelly here)
(All readers see outline of U20 selection camps and process here)
“I am looking forward to getting onto the field and finding the players who will compete in the 2013 Junior World Championships,” Kelly said. “With limited time to prepare as a team, we will have a tough challenge with South Africa, France and England, but we look forward to the chance to remain in the top tier of Junior World Rugby.”
Prior to his coaching stint with the Under-20s team, Kelly served as the head coach of the Denver Barbarians after previously working there as an assistant. In 2010, he led the Las Vegas Blackjacks to a national championship. Additionally, Kelly has worked as a Rugby Development Officer in Italy and New Zealand, working primarily with junior rugby clubs and coaches. Kelly played for the USA Eagles in 2006 as a fly half, earning three caps.
Kelly takes over for Scott Lawrence, who recently stepped down from the position due to work and family time constraints.
“Lawrence will surely be missed”, said High Performance Player Development Manager Luke Gross. “During his two-year stint he led the team to win the Junior World Trophy and developed some great young athletes.”
Rob Holder will also be joining Kelly as team manager. Holder is the founder of Spearhead Rugby Academy in Minnesota and former USA Eagle’s manager.
“Both of these guys bring a lot of experience with them,” said Gross. “Jason is the type of player-centered coach we need to continue developing the quality of play for the All-Americans, and Rob has extensive experience with rugby at every level.”
The Junior All-Americans kick off their season with two regional camps in January in California and Florida, followed by two test matches against Canada in May. The season culminates with a final camp in May to prepare for the Junior World Cup in France on May 31.