USA Rugby Release by Aalina Tabini
Head Coach Mike Friday has picked 16-players to travel for the USA Men’s Sevens National Team’s first international competition of 2021. The event takes place in Madrid, Spain from Feb 20 to 21 and 27 to 28 with six senior national men’s and women’s sides competing across both weekends. A LIVE stream location will be announced by tournament organizers this week.
The squad will compete internationally for the first time in nearly a year following strong scrimmage performances in the Golden Eagles Showdown last December. Martin Iosefo will lead the group as Captain with Kevon Williams serving as Vice-Captain. Starting lineups picked in the days before each weekend. Fans should follow @USARugby on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for real-time tournament updates.
Alongside the USA are Portugal, Spain, Kenya, Argentina, and France. All participating teams will play each other once before the fifth-place, third-place, and championship final commence on Sunday.
Hosted by Spain Rugby, the tournament has worked closely with local governments to ensure COVID-19 best practices are followed for both weekends. All teams are required to undergo testing and quarantine measures before arrival and during their stay in the country. Contact tracing, daily monitoring, and regular symptom checks are also mandated by all parties involved.
Head Coach Mike Friday said:
“We’re looking forward to bringing back some competitive normality and, as a group, to experience the numerous protocols for international travel as we ready for the Olympics.
“While we are tracking well on our performance plan as a squad, we’re not operating on all cylinders. This means we have to dig deep and focus on our execution on both sides of the ball. We’ll continue to test and challenge facets of our game during these two weeks, as well as our ability to execute repeated efforts both in training and competitive games.
“[Assistant Coach] Phil Greening will remain at the training center to work with the players who are tracking to be where they need to when our next block begins in March.
“The tournaments themselves will be highly competitive with a blend of international teams bringing many different styles of play and pictures for us to work against. This is a chance we welcome after playing ourselves for the past year.
“Above all else, the Dawgs are excited to be let off the leash and represent their country once again.”
USA Men’s Sevens Roster
PLAYER NAME, POSITION, HSBC TOURNAMENTS
Malon Al-Jiboori, Forward, 10
Perry Baker, Wing, 47
Maceo Brown, Utility, 14
Christian Dyer, Utility, uncapped
Martin Iosefo (C), Center, 46
Jake Lachina, Utility, uncapped
Matai Leuta, Forward, 40
Cody Melphy, Halfback, 6
Ben Pinkelman, Forward, 37
Joe Schroeder, Forward, 12
Faitala Talapusi, Halfback, 3
Brett Thompson, Forward, 32
Marcus Tupuola, Center/Wing, 8
Maka Unufe, Halfback/Center, 43
Harley Wheeler, Utility, 1
Kevon Williams (VC), Halfback/Wing, 27
USA Men’s Sevens Traveling Staff
Head Coach | Mike Friday
Strength & Conditioning | Jon Hood
Performance Analyst | Dave Gardner
Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Team Manager | Scott Novack
Madrid Sevens Men’s Schedule (for the USA)
- Feb 20vs Portugal | 5:06 AM ET
vs Spain | 7:51 AM ET
vs Kenya | 11:20 AM ET
- Feb 21
vs Argentina | 5:06 AM ET
vs France | 7:51 AM ET
5th Place | 9:52 AM ET
3rd Place | 10:36 AM ET
Final | 11:20 AM ET
COVID-19 Safety Procedures
The USA Men’s Sevens program reassembled in January following rigorous entry testing and quarantine process in accordance with local mandates and stringent protocols from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. The program uses a robust contact tracing system to identify and minimize any exposure to the virus.
- COVID-19 testing before and after a mandatory 3-day quarantine
- Antibody and echo cardiac testing
- Periodic testing and mandatory ‘Bubble’ re-entry in the event of travel or uncontrolled community exposure
- Daily symptom and temperature checks as mandated by the USOPC and Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
- Additional internal daily wellness checks
- Assigned training groups implemented to reduce unnecessary close contact and limit transmission risk
- Maintain more than 6 ft distance from all staff
- Signed Training Agreement adhering to all safety rules