Arkansas has some exciting developments in the world of rugby.
USA Rugby’s former Women’s National 7s Team Head Coach, Jules McCoy, has launched the American Rugby Pro Training Center in Little Rock. The Greater Little Rock Rugby Complex is perfect for hosting elite level men’s and women’s rugby players and tournaments. It has several rugby pitches on site, a fully equipped gym, and local government and business support.
To help with the launch effort, the Center will host 30 hand selected, promising young women’s rugby players from Aug. 20-24. Tiger Cubs Coach Karl Barth and Atlantis Coaches Emil Signes and Dana Creager will join Coach McCoy in guiding players through a high performance training camp and series of scrimmages. Internationally recognized USAR Referee, Leah Berard, will referee the scrimmages and help instruct players on the nuances of international referee expectations.
Another great opportunity for the players will come from the attendance of Ric Suggitt, current USA Rugby Women’s National 7x Team Head Coach, as he scouts new talent for the national team program.
McCoy is considered uniquely qualified to lead the advanced rugby development center because of her winning track record at the international level. According to a press release, “as head coach of the Women’s National 7s Team from 2006-2009, Coach McCoy won the Hong Kong 7s, the Dubai 7s and USA 7s three times. She also coached the Women’s World Cup 7s team to a 4th place finish in 2009, and stayed with the program to help lead Olympic development coaching and recruiting efforts. McCoy also has a winning track record coaching men’s rugby teams, with major championship wins at TOLA Men’s 7s, NACRA and Cape Fear 7s.
‘I’m excited to continue my passion for rugby in America by creating and developing American Rugby Pro Training Center starting in Little Rock, AR. With the 2016 Olympic Games fast approaching, and performances at World Cups and international tournaments steering rankings, it is our duty to work as hard as possible to create environments and systems where our athletes can train to win on the global stage,’ says Coach McCoy.”
The Rugby Center is also a designated Tiger Rugby facility. McCoy is the Tiger Rugby coach. She also has created a new women’s rugby international touring side to match the strength of their men’s program, and the American Rugby Pro Training Center will become yet another home for both men’s and women’s Tiger Rugby (outside of their Columbus, OH facility).
The training center is also expected to create more international competition opportunities for men’s and women’s 7s rugby, as well as be an official men’s and women’s residency program for more consistent high level training. The efforts are designed to prepare athletes to win at the international level, for possible residency spots with the national teams at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, and to successfully compete at the 2016 Olympic Games.