USARL Inc. Chairman Peter Illfield Announces Retirement
Peter Illfield, Chairman of the US Association of Rugby League Inc. has announced his retirement from the position after 16 years of service to the sport in the USA. Mr. Illfield has served as the Chairman of USARL since 2011 (USARL Inc. since 2014, when the International Rugby League (IRL) regulations required national governing bodies to be incorporated as nonprofit organizations) and has been instrumental in the development and promotion of Rugby League in the USA and beyond.
Mr. Illfield has a long and distinguished history in Rugby League. In Australia he was a former player and coach, becoming an NRL Accredited High Performance Coach. He has developed and managed Rugby League as a professional sports administrator and has been a coaching staff member of the Australian Institute of Sport, Rugby League National Youth Program.
Illfield’s senior football career saw him have 12-years with the Maitland “Pumpkin Pickers”, he also had a premiership winning season with NSW Hunter Valley Group 21 club Scone Thoroughbreds.
Coached by former internationals Terry Pannowitz, Don ‘Bandy’ Adams, Gary Sullivan and St George center and ex-Australian NRL referees boss, Robert Finch, Mr. Illfield gleaned considerable knowledge from these Rugby League greats, and instilled his lifelong passion for the game.
He spearheaded preparation of elite youth squads for the Newcastle Knights, Western Australian Rugby League and the Western Reds RLFC. He was a key component in the development of the sport at all levels.
Arriving in the USA in 2006, he became Head Coach of the Philadelphia Fight in 2007, then Chairman & Head Coach in 2008 through to 2014, collecting three USA Championships along the way.
“Assisting with the growth of Rugby League in the USA was a great pleasure, no more than my time at the Philadelphia Fight,” Illfield said. “It was an exciting period and well managed by the likes of some very hard working people, none other than Ryan McGough & the late David Bowe. Ryan focussed on club admin, David on match day logistics and programs. Their individual roles left the on-field performance up to me.”
Peter Illfield's last act as Chairman was initiating the joint process to review the governance model of the sport in the USA under the stewardship of Troy Grant, IRL Chairman. This act ultimately led to the reform process of the USARL Inc’s governance model which is to be ratified under the Interim USARL Inc. Board under IRL guidance.
Mr. Illfield said, “A big thank you is extended to Danny Kazandjian, Secretary General of the IRL, Romeo Monteith, European Rugby League Americas Regional Director, and all the Rugby League Stakeholders in the USA that have spent countless hours assisting the progress of the USARL Inc. and now the reform of the USARL.”
Mr. Illfield declared he will not seek election to the interim or reformed USARL Board but says he is excited for the future of the game in the USA and hopes the sport flourishes under the single entity, representative democracy and IRL guidance. He went on to say, “There’s a big job to be done in the years ahead, although there are many who need to be acknowledged, congratulated and thanked for their assistance and support received over my 16 years as a volunteer administrator and coach. None more than Danny Kazandjian, Ryan & Dave, but also Drew Slover and Daryl ‘Spinner’ Howland of the Jacksonville Axemen, plus many more who have put their heart and soul into the game, in the US, the quiet achievers.”
“Peter has been an outstanding leader and a steady hand for USARL for more than a decade. He has given so much to this organization and to this sport that we all love,” said Drew Slover, USARL domestic competition chair. “We are so grateful for everything he has done for USARL. He has made an incredible impact on this organization and on this sport here in the USA.”
The USARL Inc. will announce more details on the governance reform process in the coming days.