Schuylkill River 7’s launches U23 Academy Team
One of the most successful 7's programs over the last decade, Schuylkill River RFC (Philadelphia, Pa), adds a new layer to its young, but storied history. Beginning this summer, Schuylkill River is proud to announce the formation of its U23 7's Academy that will compete throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. SR has tabbed one of nation's most well-known and renowned coaches, William "Biddy" Boyle, to guide this young squad.
"For the last couple of years, we fielded 3 to 4 sides a weekend many of them almost entirely made up of college players, so this is decision was easy to make and actually long overdue" stated SR 7's Director, Pat Boyle (no relation to Biddy Boyle). "Now we have given these young athletes an identity and we know it will only fast track their development."
The U23 Academy Team will train side by side with SR's Men's Team creating a true pathway for up and coming 7's players. Regardless of age, any player talented enough will still compete with SR's Premier Men's side, but the U23 Academy will serve as a vital tool in preparing the next generation of great 7's players. SR’s renowned coaching staff will individually track each player, communicating with their College coaches and Touring Side selectors about their development.
Chris Ryan, Head Coach of SR 7's added, "We hang our hat on developing 7's rugby players. We aren't a club, nor want to be one that flies in players for tournaments. The Academy side is the next level of enhancing our ethos of developing rugby players. We finished 6th in the country last year with every player living locally, 8 of which were 23 or younger, and not one international (1st thru 5th place at Nationals in 2015 all had at least 1, many placing below SR), so we aren't just saying these things, we truly believe it and the results bear it."
For new U23 Academy Coach, Biddy Boyle, it's just another notch in his long history of developing rugby players. Most recently, Coach Boyle has been aiding in the development of Atlantis U19 side which recently won Vegas 7's as well as resuming his duties as 7's Coach at the University of Delaware since their reinstatement. "My work with the U19 Atlantis team has really reinforced my beliefs in what works in rugby. We have been lucky enough to have that group for a couple tournaments and practices and the results have been amazing. It is not a group of superior athletes thrown together and said go win. It's not to say they aren't great athletes, but the key was they actually got to train together a bit and results followed. The same is true for my new role with SR's U23 side except it takes it a step further. These athletes will train and play together all summer long. Whatever their goal is SR Men's side, College All-American, an Atlantis cap, or hopefully the Eagle's for some, our program will fast track that goal."
Schuylkill River's 7's program we still field multiple Men's side this summer, but it's clear they will have many young players pushing them every day. Schuylkill River's 7's program is open to all athletes 18 years or older regardless of experience, or 15's club affiliation.
Pat Boyle concluded with saying “You can pay a lot of money these days for camps and other types of instruction in our sport. Those certainly have a place, but the feedback we have gotten from college coaches is a summer in our program where you are training and actually playing every week far exceeds the camp setting. Sides targeted specifically for the U23 group I think will only lead to more local players choosing our development path. We are honest, we don’t tell kids you’ll be the next Eagle if you play for us, but certainly tell them we can take their game to the next level and if a player’s next level is the Eagles then our coaches will get him there.”
Any U23 or men's player interested in joining should contact Pat Boyle, Director of 7's. firstname.lastname@example.org
Schuylkill River's 7's program was established in 2008. Since that time, SR has qualified for the USA Rugby 7's Nationals 6 times, winning the MAC Championship 4 times and finished 6th at the 2015 USA Club National Championship. The program has produced 4 USA National Camp invitees, 7 Collegiate All Americans, and over 25 players have gone on to play for US select/touring sides.
Updated 04:21 - 6 Aug 2016 by Jim Hegarty