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Has there been any improvement since the inception of the contracts? Not according to the numbers.
The Eagles have played 50 IRB 7s World Series games during the contract era, amassing a record of 13-37. That’s good for a winning percentage of 26. In the 58 games played just before the contract era, dating through the beginning of the 2010/2011 season, the Eagles were 23-35, with a winning percentage of almost 40.
One of the most obvious benefits Team USA was supposed to enjoy with full-time contracts was improved continuity. One of the reasons we heard for a lack of success was that the Eagles had to use too many players on the circuit, due largely to player unavailability. Contracts were supposed to cure that ailment and enable players to be available more consistently.
2010/2011, a season completely without contracts, the Eagles fielded 22 different players on the circuit. In 2011/2012, a season in which the Eagles fielded a mostly contracted team in most of their tournaments, 20 players were named to circuit teams.
So far this season, the first full one of the contract era, 17 players have already been on a World Series roster, and there are still six more tournaments to be played.
The contract era is still very young, and within it is a coaching change,
which certainly factors in – a new coach implementing his own philosophies,
game plans and expectations, as well as having to start the player
evaluation process over, to a degree, affects the win/loss columns. So
we’re not levying any sort of final judgment. But, it’s fair to say,
full-time training contracts haven’t proven to be the magic band-aid many
were hoping for.