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With the inclusion of Rugby 7s in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 2014 Youth Summer Olympics in Nanjing, China will feature the sport as well. The United States will be sending twelve boys and twelve girls to represent the Stars and Stripes.
With USA 7s Coach Richie Walker coaching the girls, England Rugby 7s legend Ben Gollings leading the boys, and Salty Thompson serving as the team leader there is no shortage of leadership to supplement the talented players selected for the games.
Selections for the squads were made through a number of different mediums. Various camps around the country, including those held at Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, aided in player identification. In addition, Regional All-Star Tournaments and High School All-American events were critical in searching for talent. Furthermore, selective touring 7s sides such as Atlantis and Tiger provided another method to get noticed. The coaching staff attended a number of tournaments around the country, while also sending scouts to tournaments they could not attend. High Quality 15s teams were certainly given a strong look, while reccomendations from people within the rugby community were also considered.
"I think it is a huge honor to represent the United States at the Nanjing Games and great for the development of our game to get youth athletes on the international stage," says Girls Head Coach Richie Walker. "It is great for our senior teams to have young players go play at this level and then work hard to find their way onto a senior side."
The boys team is led by a core group All-American veterans. Malcolm May is a dominant 15s flanker for Penn State who, despite entering his sophomore year of college, is age eligible for the Youth Olympic Games. Hanco Germishuys is another talented 15s flanker who traveled with the Junior All-Americans to Hong Kong earlier this year. The girls' team is led by captains Richelle Stephens and Tess Feury. Dana Olsen, headed to Lindenwood this fall, is a standout player to watch out for.
Below are the full rosters for both teams.
|Boys||Height||Weight||Date of Birth||Hometown|
|Cian Barry||5'8"||151||5/23/96||Point Lookout, New York|
|Hanco Germishuys||6'1"||215||8/24/96||Omaha, Nebraska|
|Brian Hannon||5'10"||180||9/27/96||Indanapolis, Indiana|
|Junior Helu||6'||200||12/19/96||Union City, California|
|Vili Helu||6'4"||233||3/20/96||San Ramon, California|
|Sione Masoe||6'||185||3/12/96||Garden Grove, California|
|Aaron Matthews||5'9"||185||3/12/97||Irvine, California|
|Malcolm May||6'1"||215||3/24/96||Chicago, Illinois|
|Suwaiter Poch||6'||225||7/21/96||Hilo, Hawaii|
|Tyler Sousley||5'11"||190||2/27/1996||Osceola, Indiana|
|Austin Taefu||5'7"||161||12/12/96||Phoenix, Arizona|
|Jojo Tikoisuva||5'11"||176||3/1/96||Sacramento, California|
|Girls||Height||Weight||Date of Birth||Hometown|
|Tess Feury||5'6"||140||3/15/96||Denville, New Jersey|
|Haley Langan||6'||165||6/22/96||South Burlington, Vermont|
|Appau Mailau||5'7"||162||10/17/96||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Michel Navarro||5'5"||147||3/13/97||Fallbrook, California|
|Dana Olsen||5'3"||128||2/2/96||Fort Collins, Colorado|
|Tiffany Person||5'8"||135||9/20/96||Alexandria, Virginia|
|Emily Prentice||5'7"||135||8/21/97||Kent, Washington|
|Kat Ramage||5'4"||146||3/4/97||Ledgewood, New Jersey|
|Becca Jane Rosko||5'3"||117||11/22/97||Dillon, Colorado|
|Richelle Stephens||5'7"||135||7/22/96||Fallbrook, California|
|Danielle Walko-Siua||5'||125||5/17/96||Hilo, Hawaii|
|Whitney Wilson||5'4"||127||11/13/96||Kingwood, Texas|