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Club 7s Championships Set for August in Seattle

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Club 7s Championships Set for August in Seattle

Photo from the 2017 National Championships. Photo Dropkick Photos.

The USA Club 7s Championships, presented by the Washington Athletic Club, is set for August 14-15 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. just south of Seattle.

The event has a few changes from previous events, some prompted by COVID and come prompted by organizers wanting to institute some changes. 

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The USA National Club 7s Championships is presented by the Washington Athletic Club, which also presents the awards for the top collegiate rugby players each year. The US Rugby Foundation is also supporting the event, coming in as a Gold Sponsor for the event.

Changes

The big change in this event if that teams have been encouraged to attend even if they aren't going to play for the major championship, the Emily Signes Cup. there will be two tiers of championships for the men's bracket, with 16 teams playing for the National Championship (the Signes Cup) and 16 or so playing for the Silver Cup.

This was instituted so that teams could plan better for their travel, and also to encourage teams to continue to play sevens through the summer because they have a national-level trophy to play for.

It's likely that there will be only a Signes Cup bracket for the women, as COVID has hit women's teams a little bit harder.

The invitation aspect of the tournament was instituted because not every region has been able to have a robust summer competition. So, organizers, chiefly Howard Kent and Erik Geib, entertained applications from longstanding successful clubs and invited those that had repeated success over the last several years. What might end up happening, however, is that some teams that are having a better season this year than teams who were invited might still be in the Silver Cup bracket. All of that remains to be seen (certainly you'd expect an invited club that is struggling to see the writing on the wall). 

But, seeing as this is a new organizational regime and the first Club 7s since the COVID shutdowns, perhaps clubs need to be patient.

Rules and Purpose

The purpose of the USA Club 7s Championships is to recognize the best 7s clubs of the summer, but also to find players who could challenge for a national team place. It's this second purpose that has prompted one eligibility rule set forth by organizers. While 15s clubs can label players with established residency as "domestic" that's not the case for 7s. The USA 7s teams are Olympic teams, and as a result are populated by US citizens. You have to be a US citizen to be on the Olympic team, and that policy has been extended to the USA team on the World Series circuit. (There's no point in spending training effort and game time on players who can't play in the Olympics.)

This attitude is extended to the Club 7s Championships. The rule for rosters in this championships is this: Nine players must be citizens. Three can be non-citizens. For the 13th player on the roster, that player can be either a US citizen or a Green Card holder.