November 17, 2017
Atavus Sponsoring USA Women’s Eagles Tour to France
USA Rugby Release: Nick Sero, Nov. 17, 2017
LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The Women’s Eagles embark on their November Tour, with Atavus signed on as official tour partner, to France Thursday, Nov. 19, for two matches against fourth-ranked France in Béziers and Montpellier.
Peter Baggetta will lead the 26-player team as head coach while Pete Steinberg is away on family leave, continuing on from the Eagles’ last assembly around the Women’s Rugby Super Series in Salt Lake City. The U.S. was narrowly defeated by the visitor on that occasion, and will face the 2016 Women’s 6 Nations Champion Tuesday, Nov. 22, and Friday, Nov. 25.
Atavus has supported the growth of rugby in the United States through USA Rugby Academy camps and programs held around the country, tackling consultations with football and rugby programs, and coach education sessions that have bred a new generation of rugby enthusiasts. Atavus’ sponsorship of the Eagles’ November Tour follows the support of the Girls High School All-Americans powered by Atavus as well as additional women’s age-grade assemblies and competitions in recent years.
Five Atavus athletes have been named to the touring squad, including Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 veterans Sylvia Braaten and Hope Rogers. Women’s Premier League Championships Most Valuable Player Jordan Gray joined the first Women’s XVs Residency program earlier this year along with Rogers and Sam Pankey, with Kelsi Stockert of Seattle Saracens rounding out the Atavus athletes on tour.
“We’re deeply committed to providing young women a pathway to allow the game to take them wherever they want to go in life; whether that is to college, the World Cup, or the Olympics,” said Julie Prentice, co-founder of Atavus. “This tour is a critical opportunity for these elite athletes to test themselves as a team and individuals against the best in the world, preparing them for the World Cup and life beyond.”
In all, six veterans of the last World Cup in Paris are amongst the squad, including 2014 captain Kate Daley. Twelve members of the squad competed at the WPL Championships in Marietta, Ga., over the weekend, while a third of the squad has competed in a domestic National Championship this season.
Five athletes could receive their first caps on tour, including Joanne Fa’avesi and Alev Kelter, Team USA Olympians in Rugby Sevens’ debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games this past August.
With just three years between the 2014 and 2017 World Cups, the Eagles have benefited from the expansion of the Women’s Eagles Pathway in identifying and assembling international athletes domestically. Twenty of the 26 players in the squad have competed in the 2015 or 2016 Women’s Rugby Super Series events, with 13 selected for both.
“One of the lessons we learned from the previous cycle was chopping and changing players constantly – and that lack of stability – hurt us a bit,” Baggetta said. “We made a conscious decision to get our athletes playing as much together as much as possible. That doesn’t mean there won’t be players that force themselves onto the squad, but we’re going to be pretty consistent going forward.
“If you don’t have continuity, you have this massive turnover and either you have a lot of new players coming in or you can’t bring in as many new players. The other nice thing about the setup now is the close relationship the 15s program shares with Richie Walker and the sevens program. Richie’s input was really valuable to us, understanding who could transition to 15s and in a short time frame.”
With Atavus on as official tour partner, both matches of the November Tour will be broadcast live on The Rugby Channel to subscribers. For more information and to subscribe, visit The Rugby Channel or download the iOS or Android smartphone applications.
Women’s Eagles | November Tour
Katy Augustyn – Berkeley All Blues (WPL)
Catherine Benson – Life West
Sylvia Braaten – Twin Cities Amazons (WPL)
Elizabeth Cairns – Unattached
Sarah Chobot – Glendale Raptors (WPL)
Kate Daley – New York Rugby Club (WPL)
Tiffany Faaee – New York Rugby Club (WPL)
Joanne Fa’avesi* – Women’s Eagles Sevens
Tess Feury – Pennsylvania State University
Megan Foster – Life West
Jordan Gray – Residency / San Diego Surfers (WPL)
Abby Gustaitis* – Northern Virginia Women’s Rugby Club
Rebekah Hebdon* – Brigham Young University
Alev Kelter* – Women’s Eagles Sevens
Joanna Kitlinski – Glendale Raptors (WPL)
Jennifer Lui – Glendale Raptors (WPL)
Samantha Pankey – Residency / San Diego Surfers (WPL)
Jane Paar – Women’s Eagles Sevens
Christiane Pheil – Chicago North Shore
Hope Rogers – Residency / San Diego Surfers (WPL)
Kimber Rozier – Scion Sirens / Aylesford Ladies
Kelsi Stockert – Seattle Saracens
Naya Tapper – Women’s Eagles Sevens
Alycia Washington – New York Rugby Club (WPL)
Jessica Wooden – American Rugby Pro Training Center / Aylesford Ladies
Kate Zackary* – Women’s Eagles Sevens / San Diego Surfers (WPL)
*Indicates player uncapped at international test level
Women’s Eagles | Non-Traveling Reserves
Nicole Heavirland – Women’s Eagles Sevens
Saskia Morgan – Scion Sirens
Sara Parsons – Northern Virginia Women’s Rugby Club
Jamila Reinhardt – Augusta Women’s Rugby Football Club
Lauren Rhode – Berkeley All Blues (WPL)
Jennifer Sever – Life West
Women’s Eagles | Coaching Staff
Peter Baggetta – Head Coach
Martha Daines – Assistant Coach
Richard Ashfield – Assistant Coach
Amy Valenta – Physiotherapist
Bri Arsenault – Physiotherapist
Katie Gloyer – Team Doctor
Roshna Wunderlich – Team Manager
Women’s Eagles | November Tour
v. France – Tuesday, Nov. 22 @ 3 p.m. ET – Stade de la Méditerranée
v. France – Friday, Nov. 25 @ 3 p.m. ET – Altrad Stadium
Atavus is an ancestor or ancestral type from which a character is assumed to be inherited.
Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Atavus Rugby is relentlessly driven to breed character, develop skills and champion Rugby in the USA and beyond. The company builds and executes sustained, progression-based programming that provides coaching inclusive of any age, skill set or gender. Programs include the year-round Atavus Academy, the USA Rugby Academy Powered by Atavus, customizable “Powered By Atavus” consulting services, and international programs with key partners such as Bermuda Rugby. More information on upcoming Atavus programs is available at
About USA Rugby
Established in 1975, USA Rugby is the governing body for the sport of rugby in America and a Full Sport Member of the United States Olympic Committee. Currently headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, USA Rugby is charged with developing the game on all levels and has more than 115,000 active members, with more than 35,000 playing collegiate rugby and 35,000 playing senior club rugby. USA Rugby oversees four national teams, multiple collegiate and high school All-American sides, and an emerging Olympic development pathway for elite athletes. It also hosts more than 30 national playoff and championship events each year as a service to its members. In October 2009, the International Olympic Committee announced Rugby Sevens (the seven-a-side version of the game) will appear in the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro. Visit www.usarugby.org for more information.
Nick Sero | Manager, Communications and Digital Media | USA Rugby | email@example.com