The USA U20 team preparing to travel to Georgia for the Junior World Trophy is an intriguing mixture of players.
They come from all walks of rugby life.
There are senior club players like Oliva Auimatagi, who was at San Diego State but had to drop out for a year. SD State Head Coach Craig Hartley, who is an OMBAC man, hooked Auimatagi up with the local club. What he’s lost in the collegiate experience he has gained propping against far more experienced players. Also: Patrick Latu at SFGG, Michael Durant at NYAC, Paul Mullen (HARC), Jake Fallon (Grand Rapids).
There are high-schoolers in the USA. Tyler Black is a huge part of why Colorado Springs is one of the top U19 in the country.
There are high-schoolers overseas. Madison Hughes is attending Wellington College in the UK (an independent secondary school in Berkshire, England. The wing has already been recruited by the England setup as a 7s player, but has committed to the USA.
There are well-known players on top college programs. Joe Cowley has been a star for Life at fullback and Paris Hollis, also at Life, is a prop with all the tools. Bubba Jones is the starting flyhalf for St. Mary’s, and another with tons of 7s potential too, and Conor Mils is a valued starter for Texas A&M and Adam Sandstrom has played some outstanding flyhalf for Arizona State. Also: Sean Carley (St. Mary’s), Mike Juszczak (Utah), Dan Metcalf (Penn State), Eric Rygiel (Arizona State), Andrew Ohmann (Life), Caleb Tracey (Kutztown University)
There are American kids going to school overseas, such as Will Magie at Leeds University, and last year’s captain, Michael Oliver at Loughborough.
There are talented players and lesser-known schools, such as 2010 RUGBY Magazine U19 player of the year Will Farrell, now at Georgia (as opposed to in Georgia, which is entirely different).
And players part of lower-division powers, such as Chuck Koehler, who is the No. 8 for national DII champs Wisconsin-Whitewater. Also: Alec Gletzer and Andrew Jackson (UC Santa Barbara), Timothy O’Hara (Santa Clara University)
And there’s a player who is developing his rugby through an academy system in Tavake Sanft at Spearhead Academy in Minneapolis.
That’s eight different sources of players for this team.