With the success of 2011 behind us at the USARL, the lure of 2012 is not just more of the same, but the occasion of more exciting developments. Many opportunities will arise for USARL players to participate in the highest quality of Rugby League games available in the USA.
2012 begins with the British Royal Marines touring the USA from April 22 to May 2. The first of their matches will be in Washington DC against the DC Slayers on April 24. The second match will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on April 27 against the New England Immortals “All-Star Team”, with their final match at Quantico Marine Base, Virginia, against a combined DC Slayers, Baltimore Blues & Philadelphia Fight squad.
Then a first for Rugby League in the USA, with the DC Slayers international tour to Jamaica taking on the local Hurricanes Rugby League in Kingston on May 5. Dane Campbell of the Jamaican Hurricanes believes it will be a massive opportunity for them to show they are more than capable of hosting major events and teams in true Jamaican fashion. The tour hopes to be the first of many between both leagues.
May marks the return of the ‘USARL International 9’s Tournament’ being held in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 19. Along with a majority of the USARL clubs, the New Zealand Police “Fencibles” will return to USA shores to defend their 2011- 9‘s Tournament title. This international event has attracted support from City and State Governments and Sport Commissions. It will showcase Rugby League in a format that will excite an estimated 200 participants in Rugby League youth programs which commenced in September 2011. They included 56 Middle School participants last Fall, with another 56 expected this Spring along with 25 High School aged youth, as well as the launch of a 6-week High School 9-a-side Rugby League competition. AYRLA youth camps will also be held during the Summer.
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
AYRLA (American Youth Rugby League Association) partner with the Providence After School Alliance and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Non-Violence to provide non-violence training, coaching clinics and internships along with Rugby League activities, competitions and camps. As title sponsor of Rhode Island Rebellion, Paul Ullucci, President of Ullucci Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, has provided $10,000 to Classical High School, Providence, for assistance with new grand-stand seating facilities.
Similar AYRLA After School and Non-Violence programs will commence in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Florida and California.
PREMIER RUGBY LEAGUE COMPETITION
June 2 heralds the commencement of the premier Rugby League competition in the USA with 8 clubs, from Boston in the north to Jacksonville, Florida in the south, participating in the USA Rugby League National Competition. Round One will see matches played in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. The 2011 defending champions, the “Philadelphia Fight” will have their work cut out for them as a number of teams have made significant improvements in the offseason. The quality of matches for this year’s competition will be a the highest level played in the USA to date.
The highlight of the USARL season proper will be the Championship Grand Final in Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday August 25.
The Baltimore Blues have replaced the New Jersey Turnpike Titans for 2012 and although they may lack some experience they will make up for it in their strong desire to succeed. The local ‘derby’ with the DC Slayers on June 30 will no doubt hold a special place in the hearts of both clubs.
Amongst all of this action, the North American Match Officials Association (NAMOA) will administer match officiating of all games and host educational courses for Match Officials and Coaching development. NAMOA continues to offer the highest level of referring in the USA with ongoing accreditation programs at an international and domestic level.
In the mean time, the USARL is committed to the ongoing development and success of Rugby League in the USA and is scheduled to continue their open and transparent approach to the unity of Rugby League, working in conjunction with all parties; AMNRL, RL European Federation and the RL International Federation to provide all participants an equal opportunity to represent their country via a National Governing Body that has a focus on both domestic and international interests.
Peter J Illfield
USA Rugby League