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USA Men Set Squad for Spain Tournaments

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USA Men Set Squad for Spain Tournaments

Logan Toga returns to the squad. Ian Muir photo.

USA Men's 7s Head Coach Mike Friday has picked 14 players for the first World Series stops of 2022, in Malaga and Seville, Spain, January 21-23 and 28-30.

Matches are broadcast on NBC’s streaming platform Peacock.

Perry Baker will play in his 50th World Series tournament, Stephen Tomasin his 40th, and Carlin Isles his 60th, but there are some significant changes in the rest of thw squad.

With three players unavailable—Lucas LaCamp, Jack Wendling, and Folau Niua—and six injured—Malacchi Esdale, Ben Broselle, Adam Channel, Jake Lachina, Cody Melphy, and Jerome Nale—some new faces and returning players are in the group. 

Former HS All American and Life University standout Chase Schor Haskin (see our 2016 Player Spotlight) will make his USA 7s team debut. Aaron Cummings could, too, if he's called up from his position as the traveling reserve. 

Faitala Talapusi hasn't played for the USA since Paris in 2018, Maceo Brown hasn't played since the Olympics, and David Still last suited up in Edmonton in 2021, but all are on the squad this week.

Kevon Williams returns as captain and regulars Joe Schroeder, Naima Fuala'au, and Marcus Tupuola are also on the list. Gavan D'Amore has been in and out of the squad but was in for Dubai at the end of 2021 and returns, as does newcomer power forward Logan Tago.

Memories of Dubai

The USA Men started strong in Dubai, making the final before losing big to a pretty unstoppable South Africa team. In the second weekend, the Eagles Sevens struggled to perform with consistency, leading to a seventh place finish and 4th-place in the overall standings.

Breaking Down the USA Men After Dubai

Malaga Beckons

The USA has been drawn in Pool C with home team Spain, Samoa, and Argentina. Spain are ranked 10th overall after finishing 10th in both Dubai events. Samoa will play in their first World Series event of the 2022 Season while Argentina are ranked 2nd overall after claiming back-to-back bronze medals in Dubai.

“We are all looking forward to another opportunity to represent in two exciting new stops on the circuit," said Friday. "This is very much a new group who want to move us forward and build on what those before have done and they realize the size of the challenge and responsibility that lies ahead in what is a very uncompromising competition. We know we will make mistakes, have to learn as we play and be resilient in those times of adversity, ensuring we dig deep in both tournaments."

So Friday will be working on creating a united team with relatively untried combinations.

“The challenge for us as a group will be to minimize errors in the basics of the game, tactically be cohesive and play as one. We are in a highly competitive group with the other three teams being hugely physical on both sides of the ball and in Spain there is the extra spice and passion of playing at home. [I am] excited to see the boys take the field and we should all get ready for the rollercoaster of emotions that the games will no doubt bring.”

Several longtime USA players, including Martin Iosefo, Matai Leuta, Brett Thompson, Danny Barrett, Ben Pinkelman, and Madison Hughes have either officially retired from the USA 7s team or are taking an extended break. 

USA Men's 7s team to Spain (college team listed with player if applicable):
1. Carlin Isles 
2. Logan Tago
3. Gavan D'Amore - AIC
4. Chase Schor Haskin - Life University
5. Joe Schroeder
6. Kevin Williams (Captain) - New Mexico Highlands
7. Faitala Talapusi
8. Maceo Brown - Grand Canyon
9. Stephen Tomasin - San Diego State
10. Marcus Tupuola - Notre Dame College
11. Perry Baker
12. David Still
13. Naima Fuala'au - Life West
14. Aaron Cummings (Traveling Reserve) - Davenport