Northeast Academy Pathway Paying Dividends
Northeast Academy Release: June 23, 2017
The past twelve months have been an exciting time for several Northeast Academy athletes, with an impressive 11 Academy men and women representing the USA in international competition.
When the Northeast Academy was launched in 2013, the mission was to identify, develop and prepare Sevens rugby players with the intention of placing ambitious athletes onto the Men’s USA National teams and USA Olympic teams. Since those early days, the Academy’s mission has evolved to provide pathways for women as well as men, and into the Eagles XV as well as 7s sides.
The Academy’s women have made great strides on the national scene, with four athletes being selected for the 7s or XVs sides, and one player currently in the Women’s Eagles camp at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in the lead-up to the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland. The most recent representatives are Nicole Heavirland and Tess Feury, who have been selected for the USA to compete in the Clermont 7s in France.
Nicole Heavirland (7s & XVs)
Tess Feury (7s & XVs)
Kate Daley (XVs)
Kat Ramage (XVs camp)
Sarah Buonopane (7s)
The Academy men have had similar success, with seven men representing the USA and five athletes earning their first cap in the past year. Connor Wallace-Sims and Alex Schwarz made their debuts on the 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series, while Ryan Matyas (also 7s), Nate Brakeley, and Nate Augspurger have been standouts for the Eagles XVs side this summer. Augspurger captained the side against Ireland and he and Matyas each bagged a try in the one of the first two matches of the summer series.
Luke Hume (XVs)
Harry Higgins (XVs)
Nate Augspurger (7s & XVs)
Nate Brakeley (XVs)
Ryan Matyas (7s & XVs)
Connor Wallace-Sims (7s)
Alex Schwarz (7s)
While the elite pathway is showing results, the Academy is also continuing to provide opportunities for developing players to compete against strong competition alongside other aspiring elite players in the Northeast. To that end, the Northeast Collegiate 7s (Men’s) was held in May in the Boston area, which pitted several of the top college 7s programs in the Northeast against one another. An Elite Women’s 7s tournament is planned for the Labor Day weekend in the Northeast, to provide an opportunity for the country’s top Women’s Academies and select sides to compete and showcase their abilities in front of National team coaches. Expected participating teams are American Rugby Pro Training Center, Atavus Rugby, Atlantis Rugby, Scion Rugby Academy, Stars Rugby 7s, Northeast Academy and All Armed Forces team.
To ensure that the talent continues to grow in the Northeast, in partnership with Tiger Rugby, local development camps are being planned for this summer and beyond to ensure the next generation of young athletes has the opportunity to develop and follow the elite pathway.
“Being a product myself of rugby here in the Northeast, having played for several clubs (DII to Super League) as well as having coached several clubs (both Men and Women), I have witnessed talent come and go as they seek to find opportunities that will best position them to be noticed at the National level. In fact, it is for that sole reason that I joined the Northeast Academy, to ensure we could retain that departing talent as well as to attract new talent by creating those same opportunities for both players and coaches, right here, locally. The results of our pathway this year is proof that such opportunities do exist, and with the continued support of our two dedicated Unions (Empire GU and NERFU) we look forward to continuing to expand those development opportunities to our local community.” – John McGeachy, Executive Director of Northeast Academy
While this past year has been an unqualified success in terms of Academy athletes achieving national honors, it is the ongoing local development efforts that will ensure that the next generation of Men’s and Women’s Eagles are identified and developed.
The Northeast Academy is a National Development Academy sanctioned by USA Rugby as the official designated pathway to the USA Eagles National Team selection for both Men and Women in the Northeast of America. With training locations in New York City, Boston and Buffalo, the Academy offers development in three distinct areas: elite player advancement; coach education; and local union enrichment; and has the ultimate goal to augment the skills of players and coaches alike, growing the game within the EMPIRE and NERFU Unions.