AMNRL SEASON XV!
April has only just begun and already the American National Rugby League is busy preparing for the USA v Tonga international in Hawaii in May and also the start of our fifteenth domestic season of rugby league in 2012. Coming off a successful Donnybrook Cup campaign in March in which the Tomahawks successfully reclaimed the trophy with a resounding 38-20 victory in front of one of a great crowd at Widener University, the stage is set for a great season of rugby league in America.
Locally, the AMNRL domestic competitions will feature rugby league teams in several regions throughout the USA based in the Atlantic, Pacific, Midwest, Southwest and West. Outside of the established base in the east, the growing interest in the sport continues across the country and whilst the vast distances between each region is significant, the short term focus of all administrators is to grow the game organically. That is, concentrate on local development first. That may be as humble as introducing the rules and game to only a small group initially at the youth and senior level to kick start the interest. A mid term goal once a player base and modest infrastructure has been established is for regions within a feasible geographic distance to work together to schedule matches that would involve team travel to a single location to showcase the sport and encourage inter regional competition. Plans to promote this 'smart start' phase is currently underway in the west, southwest and has been a focus of the Midwest AMNRL for a few years. As the game evolves locally at a participant level, the opportunity to present the game at a higher level now exists via weekly NRL and SLE content being available nationally on Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Soccer Channel, along with the USA Tomahawks playing international matches around the country.
Whilst 2011 was a turbulent year for the AMNRL, we are very proud of the manner in which we continued down a path of dedicated commitment to the sport of rugby league, for our players, and fans who have loyally served a humble effort to give the sport a chance in the toughest and busiest sports marketplace in the world. The success of our USA Tomahawks to qualify for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup is a testament not only to the players in that squad, but represented also the efforts of many who quietly went about their business locally to spread the game and have gone largely unnoticed for over a decade. They put the game before self interest and self promotion. Associated to these dedicated servants of the game, it is great to see so many talented players, coaches, and rugby league guys return in 2012 to play in our competitions and national team programs. We welcome the Fairfield County Crocs from Connecticut who will prove to be a formidable force in 2012 and we look forward to presenting a tightly fought competition led by our premiers the New York Knights in our founding region in the east! We are working with club administrations in Atlanta and Northern Vriginia to grow the Atlantic Conference to a robust eight team competition. Our Midwest group led by Mike Featherstone in Chicago is doing a great job to get development plans in place in Iowa City and Western Chicago. Col Manners who was part of the growth of the New York Knights and Northern Raiders has relocated to California and working with a number of clubs out west to present games in Southern and Northern California. George Tupou has been working hard to get games going in Utah and plans to work with Col and the team out west along with former US Eagles rugby union international Vaha Esikia in Las Vegas to schedule a number of games in 2012. Damian Flint based at Brockport University in NY is leading the collegiate development plans with a number of state representatives nationally to drive the collegiate base while USA Tomahawks internationals Ben Kelly and Damien O'Malveney will head up the youth development programs. Matty Elliott is coordinating the USA Tomahawks elite player plans along with Marcus Vassilakopoulos and Lee Addison whom is also the AMNRL National Coaching Director. The AMNRL vision is not only focused on the US but also fostering a relationship with our northern neighbors. Our cross border contests and growing rivalry with Canada represent a huge opportunity for the sport of rugby league in North America and we look forward to working closely with the Canada Rugby League to develop a North American Federation that will best represent our interests within the International Rugby League community.
We have built out a robust league infrastructure that is led by many hardworking members (that do an incredible job behind the scenes, not seeking any profile or credit for their pioneering efforts) who have loyally served the sport of rugby league in the USA for many years that should be recognized which includes; Rob Balachandran, Matt Astill, Jeff Preston, Rob Irwin, Phil Shipos, Marcus Vassilakopoulos, and Christian Rahui.
Learn more about all of our guys working hard to develop the sport of rugby league in America through our national team programs, collegiate and youth development, along with the role of Steve Johnson and Adam Nable to present our organization at the international level in association with the games leading bodies at the RLIF, NRL, ARLC and RFL by clicking here
Enjoy AMNRL Season XV!
Standby for some very exciting announcements that will rock the rugby world!
From all the hardworking volunteers and Rugby League enthusiasts at the American National Rugby League!