Unification took another step forward with the announcement that the Northern Virginia Eagles are joining the USA Rugby League in 2014.
The announcement comes only weeks after the USARL Board meeting which voted in 4 new clubs (Brooklyn NY, Central Florida, Tampa Bay and Atlanta) to now provide a 10-team National Competition in 2014.
The Northern Virginia Eagles will join as the 11th team when the season kicks off on May 31st. The decision for the NV Eagles to join the USARL comes as a deadly blow to the AMNRL who are reeling from recent news that another club, the South Hampton Dragons have decided to withdraw from the 2014 AMNRL season.
The Northern Virginia Eagles released the following statement.
Over the past few months the Northern Virginia Eagles have discussed and debated on whether to stay with the AMNRL or to go play in the USARL for the 2014 season. This decision does not come in haste and was not an easy one to make. The Northern Virginia Eagles have made the decision, in what we feel is in the best interest for our club. We are excited to announce that the Northern Virginia Eagles will be joining the USARL and have been accepted for the 2014 Rugby League season.
The Eagles committee consisting of myself, President Phil Dorn, Vice President Christian Seaman, Recruiting/Sponsorship Coordinator Pat Robinson with insight from Head Coach Craig Webb, have made this decision in what we feel will help the club grow. Keeping the organization more localized with in the Mid Atlantic, will increase the Eagles fan base and the ability to gain more local sponsors. We leave the AMNRL with no bad blood or harsh feelings. This was a decision made to improve the Northern Virginia Eagle’s Rugby League Club, we wish the AMNRL the best in their 2014 season and look forward to our upcoming USARL season.
Peter Illfield, Chairman of the USA Rugby League commented. “Today represents a significant chapter in the history of the Rugby League in America. We are excited that the Northern Virginia Eagles have chosen to become an active participant in the USARL and to raise their standards through both coaching certification and player training and recruitment efforts.” He continued… “What we’ve accomplished in 3 years is a testament to our mission and vision around transparency, accountability and equitable participation by its members. Our 4th season promises to the best yet with the expansion of three (3) new teams and the beginning of a Southern Conference featuring 2012 Champions the Jacksonville Axemen.”
The USARL is currently seeking RLIF membership status, government funding, renewable and reliable sources of income via strategic marketing and promotion campaigns at the same time of conducting a democratic and transparent process of governance for growth and development. The USARL is comprised of member clubs who participate in the organization, with a club representative on the Board with equal voting rights, governed by a constitution, rules and regulations supporting a national competition, youth development, referee and coach education and training for expansion.
The season starts with the Philadelphia Fight hosting the 4th Annual USA Rugby League 9′s Tournament in Philadelphia on Saturday May 17, 2014.