USARL Season VII delivers a blockbuster summer of USA Rugby League
The USARL XIII’s Club Competition series will commence on June 3rd where teams up and down the east coast of the USA will battle it out in a NORTH & SOUTH Conference Competition format. The winner will of each conference will play against each other in the National Championship Final hosted by the SOUTH Conference Champions of the on August 26th, 2017.
Season VII kicks off June 3rd weekend with last year’s champions the Philadelphia Fight traveling to Brooklyn Kings at Bushwick Inlet Park Sunday 6:30pm. In the SOUTH Conference, Atlanta hosts Jacksonville at Silverbacks Stadium Sat 5pm a repeat of last year’s SOUTH Conference Final where Jacksonville won by a score of 38-28.
With the Philadelphia Fight reigning champions, co-coach Rich Henson was asked about his thoughts for the upcoming season. “The 2016 Fight were something special now winning our 4th title and we intend keep the magic going in 2017. With the Rugby League World Cup 2017 on the horizon and players from all teams vying for national selection, the Fight expect the 2017 USARL season to be full of excitement. Players will be stepping up to show their worth to the selectors of the USARL Hawks. We believe that this will be the most competitive season the USARL has seen since its inception.”
Drew Slover co-owner of the Jackonsille Axemen also spoke about the upcoming year, "We are looking forward to an exciting 2017 season, the USARL SOUTH looks to be as competitive as ever. Every team has their sights on competing in the National Championship, so every Axemen game is going to be a slugfest. Between the competitive regular season games, NORTH vs SOUTH Challenge in Tampa, Americas Championship (USA V Jamaica in Jax), USARL SOUTH Rep vs Coogee Dolphins (Jacksonville Sept 30) and the Rugby League World Cup, this year promises to be as exciting as it gets for Rugby League in the USA. It doesnt get any better than this."
Not participating in the Season VII are clubs DC Slayers taking a hiatus year to regroup and return in 2018 and Bucks County Sharks electing not to continue for the foreseeable future.
USA Representative Schedule
The 2017 Americas Championship between USA, Canada and Jamaica kicks off in Jacksonville, Florida, on July 22 with the USA Hawks playing at home to Jamaica. Following the USARL Club Championship Final, the NORTH vs SOUTH all-Star returns to Tampa on Sept 9 where the SOUTH Conference Champions hope to go back-to-back in 2017.
USA Assistant Coach Sean Rutgerson spoke about the importance of the NORTH vs SOUTH game, “The impact of this September 9 match will rest heavy on our players, who are chosen to represent their conference, as this match is another opportunity to impress selectors for the 23-man squad going to RLWC2017. It highlights the importance of the 2017 season for our clubs and players by recognizing and acknowledging the talent our players have shown during the year.”
The following weekend USA travel to Toronto, Canada for the only meeting between these two countries in 2017 to decide both the Americas Championship and 2017 Colonial Cup rights. Discussions are underway with USARL, CRL and Toronto Wolfpack to make this event a double header weekend. The USA Hawks RLWC2017 Squad will be announced the week following the Colonial Cup Sept 16, 2017.
New USARL Website Launched
Kicking off the 2017 season, a new website has been launched (USARL.ORG) that reflects an updated brand and National Governing Body now known as US Association of Rugby League. The website continues on from the previous success and efforts by USARL member clubs and administrators now expanded to promote all facets of Rugby League activities ranging from youth, club competition through to International representation.
USARL Chairman Peter Illfield emphasized the importance of what the does for Rugby League in the USA, “As the National Governing Body, the US Association of Rugby League Incorporated (USARL) now has a modern vehicle to market and record in detail the history of our game, add value to those of interest and emphasize “Association”, by way of increased participation from club level to our national team.”
Illfield continued, “USARL.org has been designed to accommodate ‘grassroots’ development activities helping our clubs and regions to ‘pick-up-the-ball’ and start the process required for playing Rugby League. It will prove to be a great tool for our many fans, players and volunteer club administrators to source and record the necessary information required to engage with the USARL, commence clubs, play and officiate. A great deal of thanks is extended to Steve Williams and his willingness, persistence and dedication in accomplishing this most important project."
Steve Williams, Director for Communications spoke about the website benefits in more detail, “The website acts as a modern marketing tool to for clubs to promote news, videos, players etc but also an adminstrative tool that runs the league, manages player stats, promotes multiple competitions all feeding into our representative calendar and player pathway for Rugby League. With so much new activity surrounding World Cup, Toronto Wolfpack and increased game exposure through digital channels, it also acts as an informative guide for new players and fans recently introduced and curious about Rugby League.”