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All-Time American List: Carlin Isles

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All-Time American List: Carlin Isles

Carlin Isles pulls away against France at the 2020 LA 7s. David Barpal photo.

We strong case could be made for Carlin Isles being the USA Men's 7s Player of the Decade.

He wasn't, at least in these pages, as the GRR readers voted for Danny Barrett, but the argument for Isles is this: Before he arrived on the scene the USA team was struggling. His arrival changed the game for the USA, and also energized fan interest in one of the most exciting 7s players in the world.

While the USA rise to being among the top teams in the world included the arrival of a new coach and the development of several other superb talents, it was Isles, along with Zack Test, who bridged the gap between then and now.

Isles brought with him the ability to score from anywhere on the field. He could outpace anyone. He broke the rules but actually running sideways to curve around defensive lines and then turn on the jets to outflank them. That move makes coaches tear their hair out, but when you as quick as Isles is, and can reach your top speed in just a couple of steps, you can get away with it.

A brilliant attacking player, Isles learned to add to his game, ramping up his defense, bulking up so he could control the contact point better, and stepping in as a scrumhalf at times. 

He's also a smart, sincere, religious, and flat-out kind person, which doesn't make him a better rugby player necessarily, but makes him a lot easier to root for.

It's easy to take Isles for granted. He's always there to put a game away; he's always there to torch a hapless defender; whether he's starting or on the bench, he's always a bundle of energy. He should be treasured, because there's really no other player like him in the world.

Carlin isles Sevens World Series Stats:
Matches: 262
Tries: 207 (7th all-time and most by a USA player)
Points: 1,037 (yes, he kicked one conversion!) 

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