October 29, 2015
Northeast Academy: New York City 7s Roster, Halloween 7s
Photo: Northeast Academy at World Club 7s, Limerick, Ireland
“Northeast Academy | nroda.org | Twitter: @NRODA1
New York City 7’s Roster for Big-Time Halloween 7’s event
PRESS RELEASE – Ryan Trost, Communications Director
New York, NY; (Oct. 29, 2015) – The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series kicks off in earnest on Dec. 4, in Dubai, UAE and the timing couldn’t be better for the organizers of the inaugural Halloween 7’s tournament in St. Petersburg, FL. This weekend’s event looks to make its mark among the biggest and best tournaments in the Americas. With the World Series only weeks away, the tournament is in effect a warm up for national team hopefuls and proving ground for those in the pipeline for 2016. With the national teams from Canada and Argentina, two squads from Mike Friday’s OTC residence program and three of USA Rugby’s designated Development Pathway Academies in the mix, it can’t be thought of as anything less.
The Northeast Academy, USA Rugby’s National Development Academy in the Northeast region of the states will be wearing its international tournament kit, going by the moniker of New York City 7’s. With one of their players, Nate Augspurger already in the OTC and playing as part of the Hawks squad at this event, while another of their top men, Derek Lipscomb is currently competing with the Blackheath Rugby club in London, the Northeast will have a slightly younger look than it had in the World Club Sevens tournament in Limerick last August.
Still, the 12 man New York squad will be made up of a strong mix senior men’s 7’s standouts in the Northeast. Players like Rick Kirkland, Chris Frazier and Sean Rafferty were head turners both on the National 7’s circuit and with the Academy team that traveled the globe last August. It should be interesting to watch as they switch back into Sevens mode this week to take on the absolute best Mike Friday has to offer. As for younger players, Dylan Carrion from Arkansas State University and Connor-Wallace Sims will be rejoining the squad after getting their first minutes in the New York kit at Rugbytown 7’s last August.
Other exciting notables on the roster will be Ryan Matyas and Pono Haitsuka, both of whom are familiar names to USA Eagle 7’s diehards. The two up and comers were rookie teammates on the Eagles 7’s World Series squad of 2014. A former college All-American at Arizona, Matyas spent most of 2015 playing rugby with North Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand before helping the Academy to its Elite City championship in August. Haitsuka has been with the Academy a bit longer and put in some deft work at Limerick last summer. This will be the first tournament in which the two former Eagle teammates have played together since 2014, and both are absolute standouts in the northeast, with a real chance to get back on the selection radar.
Halloween 7’s will be live streamed for rugby fans both in the states and overseas. USARugbytv.com will host the stream for domestic viewers, while internationally the event can be watched on eversport.tv. No matter how you slice it, Halloween 7’s should be a great event for everyone on the Northeast Academy’s New York City 7’s squad. Everyone has a chance to make a solid impression at what figures to be an outstanding tournament event.
The Northeast Academy’s New York City 7’s for St. Petersburg, FL:
1. Akinola Raymond (CT Bulldogs), 2. Dylan Carrion (Arkansas St.), 3 Eric Duechle (Air Force – WCAP), 4. Chris Frazier (Mystic River), 5. Pono Haitsuka (Mystic River), 6. Harry Higgins (Old Blue), 7. Rick Kirkland (Old Blue), 8. Ryan Matyas (Old Blue), 9. Sean Rafferty (Mystic River), 10. Alex Schwarz (Old Blue), 11. Mike St. Claire (Old Blue), 12. Connor Wallace-Sims (Old Blue)
Steve Lewis (Director of Coaching, Northeast Academy)
Josh Smith (Head Coach, Northeast Academy – Boston)
Manager and Performance Analyst: Rob Chudzik, Northeast Academy
The Northeast Academy, with training squads in New York City and Boston, is a National Development Academy that has been sanctioned by USA Rugby as the official Academy (Men & Women) in the Northeast of America and as a designated pathway to the USA Eagles National Team selection. The purpose of the Academy is to identify, develop and prepare Sevens rugby players with the intention of placing ambitious athletes onto the USA National teams and future USA Olympic teams. The Academy will provide athletes with top level coaching, physical preparation, and playing competition to accelerate their personal development as Sevens players in line with current USA Eagles High Performance criteria.”