USA Rugby Release by Aalina Tabani, Photo: Mike Lee / KLC Fotos
TOKYO, JPN. (August 5, 2021). – Following the conclusion of rugby competition at the Tokyo Olympics, Chris Brown has decided to leave his position as Head Coach of the USA Women’s 7s National Team to pursue new professional opportunities. Along with Brown, USA Women’s Head of Physical Performance and Assistant Coach Matt Long has also decided to move on so he can be closer to his family in New Zealand.
Coach Brown said:
“I will always support this team and be cheering on each individual. I want to thank all the players for allowing my family and I to be part of your story.
“In 2018 I was asked to come across and change the way things were being done within the program. Ultimately to shift the culture and create an environment that brought the best out of people both on and off the pitch, and obviously equip and empower these young ladies with the skills sets and game understanding to achieve greater results.
“My wife Thelma and I believe we have achieved this and that the foundation is strong for them to kick on, with someone else taking them to a greater level. It’s time for my family to move on to our next chapter.”
Coach Long said:
“I am very grateful to have been able to work with this special group of players and staff over the past several years. They are BRAVE, inspiring and committed after such a challenging and uncertain year for us all. This program’s growth over the last three years has been immense and I have no doubt this will continue as they work towards their next mission and beyond. I am excited to see how this team and the game grows in the years to come.”
USA Rugby CEO Ross Young said:
“We are incredibly grateful to Chris for his work building the ethos of this team and creating a platform for the program to grow beyond this cycle. Since he took over in 2018, Chris has been honest and dedicated in his approach to creating the right atmosphere and infrastructure for players to excel, which we have seen pay dividends both on and off the field.
“Coach Long’s work in physical performance has made a notable difference in prioritizing our athletes’ welfare and improving their ability to withstand the rigors of international competition; especially in the midst of a global pandemic where access to training was limited.
“We wish them and their families all the best with the next opportunity.”
History at USA Rugby
Brown has been with USA Rugby since 2014 where he worked under Mike Friday as Assistant Coach to the USA Men’s Sevens, helping them claim their first two gold medals at the London 2015 and Las Vegas 2018 events.
Long joined the USA Women’s Sevens in 2018. Brown was appointed Head Coach following Rugby World Cup Sevens that same year.
The two led the program to their most successful season of all time in 2019, making every semifinal, winning five medals in six events and qualifying for the Olympics. Brown won Coach of the Series which was followed by another gold at the team’s home tournament in Glendale, Colorado. That season was cut short due to COVID-19.
Results in Tokyo
The USA Women’s Sevens finished in 6th Place at the Tokyo Olympics following a devastating loss to Great Britain in the quarterfinals. It was the first quarterfinal loss for the program in roughly three years. After a win over China in the 5th Place semifinal, the squad fell to Australia for a final position of 6th. Though Team USA did not finish on the podium in Japan, the past several years have shown considerable improvement both in the senior national team and the development pipeline.
Next steps for USA Rugby
In the weeks to come, USA Rugby will complete its ongoing program review to evaluate the past five years of the men’s and women’s sevens programs. A process to appoint the new Heach Coach will follow suit. Trey Ford (former USA Women’s Assistant S&C Coach) will lead physical performance in place of Long through the end of 2021.
Players will resume training in September for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series which has confirmed two women’s fast-four events Sept 18-19 and 25-26, followed by official World Series events in Dubai from Dec 2-4 and Cape Town from Dec 11-12. Additional details about the Series can be found at world.rugby/sevens-series.