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USA JNT Pathway Works For Women And Girls Too

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USA JNT Pathway Works For Women And Girls Too

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In covering USA Rugby’s new pathway accord, and the certification of the National Development Programs, it occurred to us at Goff Rugby Report World Headquarters that the coverage was somewhat male-centric.

This, of course, is not what the new player scouting, tracking, and development plan is about. Everything that JD Stephenson and Brendan Keane have been talking about in their presentations and interviews have been relevant to girls as well as boys.

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Posted by Goff Rugby Report on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

However, it seemed wise to check with Martha Daines, USA Rugby’s Director of Girls High School All Americans and Women’s Pathway ID Manager. She, after all, knows more what the plans are for the Girls U18 and Women’s U20 programs.

“We’ll see a lot more balance,” said Daines, who points to the fact that while some of the eight NDPs appear to be boys/men only, others, such as ARPTC, or girls/women only. 

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“We’re going to be showing players more consistency in the programs and making it easier for the players to know what they’re going to be doing and what’s expected.”

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No one at USA Rugby knows everything about what the Pathway group will be able to do, because it is heavily dependent on World Rugby funding, but what Daines did say is there will be balance. What is good for the gander, the boys, is good for the goose, too.

“We’re aligned in how we have players enter the pathway and how they’re tracked,” she said.

Daines sees her role as one where she shows young players what it is like to be an international player. Whether they are training or in competition, the experience should always be part of whatever a player does under the USA pathway umbrella. 

“I want to show them this is what international rugby is like,” she said. “We want to apply appropriate pressure so we can see how players respond to that pressure—it’s not just about rugby skills.”

Be Tough

Daines said she likes the talent pool out there for the age-grade and development USA teams for women and girls, but cautions against relying too much on metrics.

“We’re finding players; we’re finding athletes,” she said. “But I am also looking for players who want to make something happen, and who want to make something happen when we apply pressure. There are lots of different types of talent.”

So the long and short of it is, the pathway information you can see on GRR is about women and girls as much as it is about men and boys. And USA Rugby’s commitment of late has been to be direct and transparent about what they are doing, and when they are doing it.

“Consistency in what we expect from players is a huge part of it,” said Daines.