High School All-American Charlie Hutchings is in good company. Hutchings was recently invited to tryout for Leicester Academy in England, whose notable alumni include current Eagle phenom, Chris Wyles. Wyles is a product of Leicester Academy and was an integral part of Saracens Aviva Premiership Championship this past season.
Charlie is 17-years old and has been playing rugby since he was eight. When Charlie and his family moved to Tampa Bay in 2006 there were no local youth rugby clubs. Having always played rugby in England, Charlie’s father Stuart helped found the Tampa Barbarians U19’s in the fall of 2007. Charlie was the only player on the team who had played rugby before, so naturally he was selected as the captain at age 14 and would remain as captain over the next four years.
Following the 2009 /2010 season, as a 16-year old, Charlie was selected to play for the Florida Juice U19 team in the Rocky Mountain Challenge. The summer following his selection to the Juice, he played for the Tampa Krewe and helped them to a victory in the Florida Cup. While playing with the Krewe, Charlie was exposed to the teachings of Dai Morgan, who has coaching experience and contacts in the rugby communities of Wales and France.
After the Florida Cup, the South U20’s and Florida U20’s were facing a touring U20’s club from New South Wales, Australia in consecutive weeks and Charlie was selected to both teams. His selection to the teams is notable because he was the only high school student selected to either squad, and was the youngest by two years.
The two matches against the young Aussies led to Charlie’s invitation to the High School All-American camp in December in Santa Barbara. He was selected to the team for the America U19’s vs. Canada U18’s match on December 31, 2010. Charlie started the match at scrumhalf and the U.S. team won the match 44-29. His performance against Canada led to an invitation to the USA High School All-American Sevens team in Las Vegas in February and attended camp in April. Charlie was most recently named to the High School All-American Touring Squad to South Africa this summer.
In recent months Stuart has been in communication with the Ospreys Academy in Wales, who he was put in contact with through the family relationship with Dai Morgan. Resumes were sent out to multiple academies, and Wasps, Gloucester, and Leicester responded with interest. Leicester needed a scrumhalf for their Senior Academy and in the end seemed the best fit for Charlie.
Stuart credits Charlie’s invitation to two things: his play with the USA Rugby High School All-American team, and his English birth-rite to be eligible for acceptance into the senior England Regional Academies. But, the game film from his competition at the highest age-grade level was a huge asset for his resume. This news is promising for all young American rugby players and we all hope it will soon become a common occurrence.