Minnesota Valkyries New Coaching Staff for 2016-2017 Season

September 9, 2016

Minnesota Valkyries New Coaching Staff for 2016-2017 Season


Photo: Nathan Osborne

Minnesota Valkyries Release: Courtney Stevens

MINNEAPOLIS, September 9, 2016—The Minnesota Valkyries are set to kick off regular season league play on Saturday with a new coaching staff at the helm. Head coach Nate Osborne and assistant coaches Chalie Baleirara, Simon Sutcliffe, and Ash Horobin will be pulling double duty this fall, splitting coaching time between the Valkyries and Metropolis Rugby Club. All four men bring a wealth of international rugby knowledge and have coached at multiple levels of the game.

We talked to Osborne, Baleirara and Sutcliffe about their rugby experience and thoughts on the upcoming season. Osborne, grew up playing rugby in Australia and played professionally in his home country before moving to the US. Osborne made the switch to coaching, starting at the high school level, followed by a successful tenure as Metropolis’ D1 side head coach. His success at the senior level landed Osborne an opportunity at the national level where he was the USA Eagles men’s national team attack and backs coach for two years and during the 2015 World Cup.

Baleirara, originally from Fiji, played in England, Ireland, and South Africa and professionally for the Sale Sharks before making the move to Minnesota. Baleirara has coached at multiple levels and lead the Youngbloodz women’s 7s side to the national tournament this summer.

Sutcliffe, an Englishman, played rugby for Winnington Park RUFC in Cheshire and Harrogate RUFC in Yorkshire before moving to Minnesota in 2011. Like Osborne and Baleirara, Sutcliffe got his coaching start at the high school level before coaching at the senior level. Sutcliffe is an assistant coach for Youngbloodz women’s 7s side and the head coach for Metropolis 7s side that placed 3rd this summer. His primary focus will be on the back line.

Looking forward to the upcoming season, all three agree that youth, enthusiasm, and hardwork are going to be the pillars to success for this young Valkyries squad. As far as goals for this season, it’s simple.

“Get better each week,” Osborne said. “The wins will come when we all feel good with our individual roles on the team. Then we can focus on getting the team playing as one more consistently.”

When asked about what they are most excited about coaching this squad, Baleirara said, “I love the sport and I love to develop and share what I got to players to make them better. Coaching new team is very exciting especially getting to know the girls and helping them to become better rugby players.”

Osborne reiterated Baleirara’s comments.

“Coaching new teams and new people is exciting,” he said “I look forward to getting to know each and every players strengths and weaknesses, so I can help them become the best rugby player they can be.”

Sutcliffe expressed excitement in the opportunity to coach a women’s team.

“I’m excited to teach a new set of players an existing system,” he said. “We learn and grow as coaches by teaching both men’s and women’s teams. It’s a learning opportunity for all of us and I’m excited for the future.”

The Valkyries open up league play on the road against 2016 D1 National Championship runner’s up, Chicago North Shore. Kick off is set for 10:30am this Saturday, September 10th at Cricket Hill along Lake Shore Drive. The Valkyries will host Wisconsin Women, the newest team in the league, in a homecoming match on September 17th. Kick off for that match is at 11am at SAOS field in Columbia Heights. Look for game recaps for those matches and check our calendar for all upcoming events, we are excited to see you all this Fall!


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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant