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Let’s say first off how enormously difficult this is. Some teams have not come together, others are waiting for key personnel to show up. We are not ranking 2nd teams (such as we might have last year when Belmont Shore qualified two teams to the national tournament); instead we pick any club’s 1st side.
We will adjust this as time moves on, but here’s our first attempt.
- Old Puget Sound Beach. Added some big names this year and were national champs last year, so …
- Boston. Lots of experience and a good coach, and they are primed.
- Glendale. A bit of a stretch, because they haven’t played yet. But we think they’ve got the horses and the coaching to do well.
- Belmont Shore. Something of a question-mark this year, because of availability of some players. But Justin Boyd is joining them so that helps, and vets like Riaan Hamilton are back. Will all the pieces come together? They usually do. Could use a flyhalf, so if you haven’t made plans for the summer yet …
- Life. A safe pick here now. But like many clubs, we’re waiting for everyone to be on the field. Still, thye have Alfred Qaranivalu who’s an up-and-comer,
- SFGG. Didn’t play 7s last year, but could well field a group of awesome players this time around. Jone Naqica is someone we really like as a coach. Remember their 15s team had some great speed depth. And they’ve added a couple of players, including the experienced Ben Green.
- 1823. The Ohio team with all the passion. Among a tight group of good squads in the Midwest.
- Denver Barbarians. Always really strong; do they have the pace?
- Chicago Lions. A complete guess, because we haven’t seen them play yet.
- Kutztown University. Hmmm … maybe we should wait to see whether they can build on the one tournament win. But still, they have fitness and speed.
- Gentlemen of Aspen. They will be competing again at 7s and should be at least decent. But they remain something of a question-mark.
- OMBAC. The injury to Zack Pangelinan hurt them, but they’ve got a great youth influx.
- YoungBloodz and Milwaukee. Remember what we said about the Midwest. Things will come out in the wash eventually.
- We just tied YoungBloodz and Milwaukee
- Maryland Exiles. A wonderful 7s tradition. With NOVA scaling back their 7s efforts the Exiles have stepped in. Lots of new blood.
- Norfolk Blues. Used to be one of the clubs 7s players flocked from … now they are one that players are coming to for the summer.
- Atlanta Renegades. Things are coming along for them. We will see if they can break past Life.
- Dallas. Really not sure but they are playing 7s and are always good.
- Old Blue. Could very well be much farther up. But were uninspiring in Massachusetts last weekend.
- Everyone else … question-marks abound for the likes of New Orleans, Humless, Santa Monica, Kansas City Blues, and possibly a team from Hawaii (!) …