The AMNRL has made another key move with the appointment of Damian Flint as its new Collegiate Development Manager.
The American National Rugby League has identified US college sports as a potential breeding ground for future talent.
Flint, who is club sports and intramurals coordinator at The College at Brockport, is tasked with developing a strategy to establish a footprint in the college community.
He will also be responsible for promoting participation levels and potentially putting together U18s and U20s Emerging Tomahawks programs.
“I think the development of the collegiate game is an area that has great potential to increase the awareness of the sport,” Flint told WeAreRugby.
“Unlike other counties who use the club model to organize sporting opportunities, America has aligned their sports with higher education so it only makes sense that Rugby League has a presence there.”
Flint says making connections to the structure that currently exists and identifying ways in which it can be tied back to the collegiate system would be one his priorities.
“In my role as Collegiate Development Manager I hope to utilize my knowledge of Rugby League and combine it with my experience in higher education to introduce and further develop the sport,” he added.
“One of the benefits I see is that, as a college administrator I am in touch with the issues currently effecting college campuses. With this in mind, I hope to serve as a resource to college coaches, advisers, and collegiate players across the country, making decisions with the goal of higher education embedded in the delivery of quality programs.
“With my affiliation with WeAreRugby, I will look to promote participation levels and club initiatives in my articles. Therefore providing a voice for the collegiate game.
“As Steve Johnson mentioned in his interview with WeAreRugby, it ties in nicely with the collegiate system where we can develop a culture where the person is as important as the player. Ensuring civic engagement opportunities, education and player welfare are a part of the overall goals we hope to achieve. These values tie in nicely with the goals of higher education and provide an added component to the performance aspect.”
Flint says establishing a national collegiate team, along with U18s and U20s programs, would set a clear pathway to identify future talent for the USA’s national team the Tomahawks.
“From a professional standpoint, working with the AMNRL team of career minded individuals who have been strategically selected to assist with the development of Rugby League in America is exciting. I look forward to the opportunity as a new era in American Rugby League is developed.”
AMNRL President David Niu is enthused by the appointment, "Damian is the ideal guy to lead this program. He has a clear vision for how we navigate the formative stages of this program, along with a dedicated passion to see rugby league develop and prosper in the USA. Given his background and experience in high level rugby league in Australia, and being embedded in the college community in America, it makes total sense to empower him with the autonomy to lead this initiative on behalf of the AMNRL."