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Thompson set forth a demanding fitness regimen and put it on the players to report their results.

Regularly and frequently Thompson was in contact with players about how they were doing, and a little honor system goes a long way, it seems.

Players were very honest, said Thompson, and if they tried to fudge the results or make it seem as if they had done workouts they hadn’t done, they were found out fairly quickly.

The message became very, very clear – team first, and doing your work for the team comes first.

And players talked. They learned this summer that some who might have been expected to be picked this year were not, or were dropped, because they hadn’t done the workouts.

“We have raised the bar and raised the expectations with everyone,” said Thompson. “Everyone on the squad is being held accountable.”

That was the message, also, in their winter camp, when USA 7s assistant Andy Katoa spoke to the players.

You are changing your life, said Katoa. You are not just doing something, you are making a commitment to a lifestyle, to a goal. And you have to make that commitment every day. Players who are on a national team, even one for high-schoolers, have to work at it all the time.

That message was given at the beginning of the year, and the players were held to that expectation.

Now, while the reasons for an underclassman not returning for another tour are myriad – commitment to a college, money, injury, football – it’s still worth noting that of the 19 underclassmen who toured South America in 2012, only five – Ben Cima, Titi Lamositele, Mike Reid, Zach Webber and Calvin Whiting – are returning.

And just to make sure this is all serious, when the players assemble in Miami n a couple of days they will have one training session before they get on the plane to Buenos Aires. That session will be a fitness test.