18 December, 2021 AGM Minutes now available

US Association of Rugby League Inc.  

Annual General Meeting (Virtual Meeting)  


18 December, 2021  

Attendance: Peter Illfield (Chairman), Jamie Dowse (Vice-Chairman), Cody Kuxmann (Director),  Drew Slover (Director), Juan Jasso BSc (Hons) - (Director), Billy Neilson (Director / Hawks Mens  Manager), Tristan Fillmore (Media & IT), Michael Brogan (Coach Education), Kyle Blochowiak  (Copperheads), Martin Coyd OBE (Chairman England Wheelchair RL), Nicholas Mew (President  Ontario Masters), Benjamin Cueni (Match Officials), Brian Lowe, Justin Tucker (Womens RL),  Steve Williams, Dylan Seeley (Ohio, USARL Player), Shaun Cumming. 

Apologies: Garen Casey, Danny Hanson. 

1. Open & Welcome  

- Ladies & Gentleman, welcome…. 

We’ve been through difficult times in the past couple of years with COVID and disruptions to our game. 

In that time though, we battled on to complete our 2021 national competition, with congratulations to Tampa Bay… and our annual North vs South, with victory going to the South.  The West Coast also battled on to complete an encouraging competition and activities…  while we accommodated our international agenda and fixtures as best we could. 

We’ve had fabulous growth from wheelchair RL qualifying for RLWC2021, women’s RL playing 2 international matches in Canada during 2022, and activities in Masters as well as a competent coach education program. 

With disruptions to our domestic and international agendas and our internal structure, the USARL Inc. has sought assistance from the IRL to conduct an open process for compliance and reform. They have commenced initial proceedings which will continue through the first quarter of 2022. We hope this process will alleviate the motivation for different factions and the undercurrent of dissatisfaction. We hope to reform our governance to a point of competence, confidence and acceptance. 

While this process takes place, the NGB must NOT take our eye off the game… in the best interest of our players and officials, we must continue to provide pathways for player recruitment, development and regional and national representation. 

Our goal is for robust and quality domestic competitions… to assemble the best possible squad to be the #1 ranked country for RLWC2025 Qualifiers. We need a healthy international  agenda against Jamaica and Canada in 2022 to achieve this. We must work together and give every effort to regain our status and ranking on the RL world stage. 

For those involved, we will need to work hard at all levels, to attract adequate momentum and sponsorship to support both our domestic andinternational agendas. 

As difficult as it is for all us volunteers, we can be successful at this…. we can roll up our  sleeves and support our neighbouring clubs and regions in the participation and development of players, coaches, match officials and administrators. 

We can not deny the need for open consultation, candid strategic planning and quality  implementation for success with our national men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions, regional competitions, North vs South / East vs West, international matches and USA’s pathway to RLWC2025.


2. Minutes of Previous AGM  

- Minutes of AGM, February 2021) were duly distributed and accepted.  

- Motion to accept: D. Slover; seconded B. Neilson. Passed 

3. Matters Arising from Previous Minutes  

- No matters arising from previous minutes. 

4. Financials  

- Latest bank statement submitted.  

- Peter I. requested refund of AU$78.35 for phone call with Romeo Monteith, RLEF to be transferred to personal bank account. 

5. New Members  

- No new members. 

6. IRL Audit  

- Cody K. reported the annual IRL audit documents were being submitted. 

7. IRL/USARL Reform  

- Drew S. highlighted USARL Inc. approached IRL for assistance. Indication of method from IRL required to consider best environment to manage NGB responsibilities and governance of the game. 

- Juan J., Director responsible for Development, suggested 12-monthly plans from Directors be part of reform process. Juan offered his assistance to Directors. 
8. Competitions (USARL LLC)  

- MIAMI was likely to return in 2022. COPPERHEADS and LAKELANDS had excellent progress in building to be back in 2022. North Division may only have Phila Fight and Deleware Black Foxes for 2022. Some clubs elected to join NARL.  

- Consider East Coast vs West Coast representative fixture. 

9. Match Officials  

- Cody K. reported all matches in 2021 had appointed match officials. Activities were supported in South Carolina and Cleveland. 

- Match official education, 1 course with USARL 9s – (5 new officials, 2 Referee, 3 TJ) - California has one official (ex-professional RFL).

- Multiple courses planned for 2022 (east and west coast) in conjunction with coaching courses. 

10. Masters  

- Juan J. recommended all Masters activities and pathways to be sanctioned by USARL  Inc. Unable to attend UK Masters Tournament.  

- Drew S. recommended meeting with Mike Brogan about agenda. 

- Juan J. found interest from S.E. clubs looking for more formal structure. 

11. Coach & MO Education (Cody Kuxmann)  

- Report tabled.  

12. California Rugby League  

- No report submitted. 

13. Hawks Mens Report (Billy Neilson)  

- Setting up international calendar for 2022-2023. Possible USA v JAM - Sept 24 at Jacksonville; USA v Canada - Oct 22 at Philadelphia.

- Currently 8/27 USARL Final (hosted by North), 9/10 USARL NvS game (hosted by South),  9/24 USA v Jamaica (hosted by South), 10/22 USA vs Canada (hosted by North).

- Discussions with Jovan regarding tour to Serbia end of June or 2023.  

- Need to consider alternative trip to Jamaica with potential of RLWC Qualifiers there in Oct/Nov, that might not be financially possible. 

- Talked to Jim Reynolds, Ireland RL looking to play in North East on St. Patrick's Day, 2023. 

- Require more info on 2023 RLWC Qualifiers 

14. Hawks Wheelchair Report (Juan Jasso BSc (Hons))  

- RLWC2021 preparation underway. 

- Planning domestic competition for April 2022. 

- Drew Slover and Martin Coyd appraisal. 

15. USARL Womens Update  

- Justin T. provided 2021 activities update. Approx. 200 registered participants. Focus on  education and West Coast. Discuss other general business off-line with Peter I. & Juan J.  Planning international matches with Canada & Jamaica 2022. Drew S. willing to assist with Justin networking. Only 2 teams in SE, but passionate. 

- Billy N. introduce womens rugby league activities in California to San Diego?     Will follow-up with Tom Stevenson. 

16. Hawks Apparel  

- Jamie D. confirmed the relationship with John Short, MD, Fourex Clothing Pty Ltd (EMU Sportswear / EV2) was strong and continuing.  

17. General Business  

- Cody K., Motion: Suspend any further election of directors to the Board until after USARL/IRL reform completed. Seconded: Drew S. Accepted. 

- Juan J. thanked the USARL Inc. Board for their confidence in his appointment as Director, Wheel Chair & Development. 

- The Chair recommended Board meeting mid-January 2022. Suggested location Columbia, SC. 

 - Nicholas Mew, Masters activities good for sport and health. Social activities and profile associated to Masters important. RLWC2021 continued with activities. Possible UK Masters tour in June. Also UK Police. 

- Kyle Blochowiak advised NARL clubs have been paid. Not very much confidence. Keep eye out for next activities. 

- Martin Coyd (Wheelchair Masters), those supporting the game recognise positive outcomes.

18. Close  

- Chairman closed meeting at 5.25pm.