YOUTH DEVELOPMENT & HIGH PERFORMANCE ACADEMY
More crucial layers have been added to the American National Rugby League’s developing strategic plan to implement best practices and systems in the game in the United States.
The AMNRL has announced the planned establishment of a High Performance Academy and Youth Development programs.
The Academy, to be based at the SportsPlex fitness complex in Fairfield Connecticut, will become the new hi-tech training home to the AMNRL and USA Tomahawks.
SportsPlex houses BKFitness, a business owned and run by former Tomahawk Ben Kelly, and he and business partner Damien O’Malveney, who also has represented the USA, will oversee both the Academy and Youth Development programs.
The operations will be aligned with the AMNRL’s newly created collegiate program to be headed up by Collegiate Development Manager Damian Flint, as well as coaching programs being implemented by National Coaching Director Lee Addison.
The Academy also will be linked to development programs being run by the Australian Rugby League and New South Wales Rugby League.
“We are very excited to be at the forefront of the AMNRL Youth Development programs and High Performance Academy,” said Kelly.
“Damien and I made an initial foray into schools in Connecticut this past spring and the feedback has been phenomenal. Our plan for youth development is to implement and oversee local, regional and national grassroots Rugby League programs with assistance from the participating AMNRL clubs and provide a feeder system from middle schools - through high schools to the collegiate level to the senior clubs where the untapped potential for Rugby League is mind blowing.
“I am currently in Australia and will be visiting Sydney City Roosters and Gold Coast Titans observing their professional operations to take back to the US and implement at the AMNRL High Performance Academy. The 2013 World Cup is a huge opportunity to expose Rugby League to the US and our team will not be there to make up the numbers let me tell you. To compete well at the highest level the US team must be professional and we are making sure that happens with a professional set up through BKAthletics.”
The AMNRL sees the new programs as playing major roles in growing the game of Rugby League in America with a longer term goal of increasing the Tomahawks’ international competitiveness.
“By starting the programs, we will be able to develop and cultivate the talent that is needed for the AMNRL,” added O’Malveney. “The youth programs will foster learning about the game and build fundamental skills.
“The High Performance Academy further builds on the fundamental skills learned in the youth program, while also developing the necessary skills to perform at the next level. Ben and I are enthusiastic about this opportunity and further developing youth programs with the various clubs in the AMNRL.”
The High Performance Academy and Youth Development programs are scheduled to come online early in 2012.