As reported earlier on RUGBYMag.com, the USA Rugby Men’s 7s program will launch a new initiative designed to identify, develop and monitor potential Eagles throughout the year.
(Listen to Tiger Rugby's James Walker discuss this concept on the latest RuggaMatrix America podcast)
USA Rugby has now confirmed this program, which will use independent regional academies that will work closely with USA Rugby National Team staff to prepare players for international 7s rugby.
The Olympic Development Program (ODP) will be the start of a long-term systematic approach to rugby athlete development and will offer year-round training programs delivered at several newly created Olympic Development Academies (ODAs).
“Aligning our domestic progression with the international demands of sevens will help intensify the competition for spots at the OTC,” said Men’s Sevens Head Coach Alex Magleby. “It will also speed up each player’s access to changes in the game, and expand the quality and number of seven-a-side match repetitions over the course of a year.”
Each ODA will provide a 10-month training opportunity with two four-week recovery periods, and continuous assessment and playing opportunities throughout the year. Players attending the center will receive rugby specific training, strength, speed and conditioning sessions, video analysis, fitness testing, and skill development.
Players attending an ODA will also have bi-monthly communication with USA Rugby Sevens coaching staff, and those players demonstrating the potential to play for the Eagles will be offered the opportunity to try out with the national team at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.
“Our staff is looking forward to working with some of our top sevens coaches and players on a regular basis,” said Magleby.
The Olympic Development Program is designed for:
- Up-and-coming players who are not yet ready for international competition but have demonstrated the ability to play on the national team
- Players who are in the extended player pool but not part of the Eagles’ residency program.
- Domestic club-based athletes, non-collegiate age-grade athletes, and college athletes whose University programs are not delivering a high performance rugby experience.
College players will be encouraged to have a formal connection with an ODA for out-of-season development in conjunction with that athlete’s collegiate coach. Athletes attending the centers do not have to play for the entity hosting the center; they will, however, have to follow the program provided for them by their Academy coach.
The Olympic Development Program will be launched in three phases:
- Phase 1 of the program will include six ODAs in Seattle, Chicago and San Diego (Serevi), Long Beach & Columbus (Emerging Tigers), and Glendale Raptors and will be run as a pilot program to build best-case practices.
- Phase 2 will increase the numbers of centers to support the demand across the country.
- Phase 3 will see the establishment of a National Academy facility and an expansion of the current residency program at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.
USA Rugby’s six initial ODAs will begin in January of 2013 with a focus on building best-case practices for future expansion. Applications for Phase 2 will be accepted after February 2013. Full program details can be found here.