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Olympic qualification opens for the USA men next week in Dubai, with the Eagles drawing New Zealand, Spain and Wales in Pool C. Head coach Mike Friday has named 14 players who will travel to Dubai without delineating which 12 will be on the active roster to start the tournament.
The usual suspects are mostly all there. Regular starters Danny Barrett, Steven Tomasin, Ben Pinkelman, Madison Hughes, Folau Niua, Martin Iosefo and Perry Baker are all on the list, as is the World Series' top try scorer from last season, Carlin Isles. Veterans Kevon Williams, Cody Melphy, Matai Leuta and Brett Thompson are on the team, too.
Two newcomers are also in tow, Marcus Tupuola and Maceo Brown. Both are All-Americans, Tupuola from Notre Dame College and Brown from Grand Canyon University. Brown has been encamped with the team for some time, while Tupuola is just getting settled in as a resident.
"Both Marcus and Maceo have done remarkably well and worked very hard all summer to get this opportunity," said head coach Mike Friday. "Firstly this is a testament to JD Stephenson's talent identification work which put both in the Collegiate All-American pathway and in front of us at RugbyTown Sevens these last two years."
As with Rio, the top four teams at the end of the season will automatically punch their tickets to Tokyo. The rest will hope to qualify for the 2020 Olympics through regional tournaments or the last-chance repechage qualifier.
"Olympic qualification is the target for us in what will be an even more competitive season and I have no doubt the standard will improve once again. To try and continue to move forward we need to strive to achieve a consistency to our game in all matches and seek to eradicate any drops in performance during the same tournaments that hurt us last season. We are confident that if we can remain healthy and resilient to the challenge, we have what it takes to compete for every cup."
Men's Eagles Sevens Extended Roster
Madison Hughes (Captain)
*Could make their first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series appearance.
Men's Eagles Sevens Staff
Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | Anthony "Rocky" Roques
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matt Long
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Team Manager | Scott Novack
Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens Schedule
Pool C | Broadcast LIVE on ESPN Networks (exact network TBD)
vs Spain | Fri, Nov. 30 - 12 AM ET
vs Wales | Fri, Nov. 30 - 3 AM ET
vs New Zealand | Fri, Nov. 30 - 9:22 AM ET