Throughout the better part of 20 years in developing rugby league in the USA, I've confronted some interesting challenges. Probably none more so then the daunting task of starting something from scratch; with nothing other then a real interest in the sport and a simple desire to give the game a chance in this country. To evolve this basic plan required finding others who shared this interest. To identify and recruit people that would have the drive and commitment to see this effort thought even though we knew the challenges and obstacles would be difficult and many was not always easy.
There is no doubt that the sport of rugby league has finally arrived in the USA sporting landscape. There are so many great things happening on the AMNRL front and it's not just in the form of players wanting to play rugby league. Whilst expansion would seem to represent the growth of player numbers and teams, it is also the demand for news, information and game broadcasts that we are experiencing increased interest. It is critical that we support this shift in awareness and popularity. Quite regularly now rugby league can be viewed on basic cable platforms along with pay sports packages.
There has been plenty of interest about rugby league in America in the past few days. It certainly helps when a celebrity of the stature of Russell Crowe starts talking about the potential for the sport globally via a Champions League style tournament hosted in the USA. It generated a positive response from both hemispheres respective governing bodies along with their professional clubs. I have had the good fortune to spend some time with Russell talking about rugby league. How the game is currently developing in the NRL and SLE, and how we might be able to establish a foothold in the USA.
When the USA Tomahawks and AMNRL administration staff assembled in Jacksonville for the Atlantic Cup last Saturday we met as a group and asked ourselves what would seem like a pretty straight forward question; how would we determine success from this event? Whilst it was a question, we also positioned it as a challenge for our players, coaching staff, and administration. The fact was and is, that we are all in this rugby league development effort together. So why not get everyone's perspective and feedback.
I can't tell you how proud I am of our team in winning the opening match of the Atlantic Cup against Jamaica. It isn't just the result and the fact that we won the game, but more so the commitment and dedication of this young group lead by team captain, Apple Pope. From the moment we assembled in Jacksonville it has been evident that these guys have a desire to be the best players they can be, and have a passion for representing their country that is a privilege to be associated with. We overcame a number of significant challenges in beating Jamaica on Tuesday.
The boys kickoff the Hotels of Jacksonville.com Atlantic Cup with a really tough assignment against Jamaica on Tuesday night at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Both teams have had limited preparation, given the distances many players have traveled from all over the world to assemble for the tournament but what may be lacking in team combinations will certainly be made up for by enthusiasm and effort.
I am really excited that all three games in the 2010 Hotels of Jacksonville.com Atlantic Cup will be broadcast live on this website. It is a real indication of how far we have come in developing the great game of rugby league in the USA! Not only will the games be played in a first class facility at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida, but fans from all over the world will be able to tune in and watch the all the action live.
Submitted by davidniu on Tue, 2010-10-26 10:38
The expression "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead. Throughout history there are numerous examples of this selfless concept in action. I tripped over the notion of this when I saw a popular movie on this theme a few years ago. If you ever get a chance to see it, I suggest you check it out. It has nothing to do with the sport of rugby, but it holds true some really specific values about who the AMNRL is as an organization, and what the USA Tomahawks teams represents.
The Atlantic Cup in Jacksonville in November will be a tremendous test for the USA Tomahawks when we take on Jamaica and Canada at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville. Last years victory over Jamaica was a fantastic result and real reflection of the hard work and dedication of our local teams, players and coaches. The Jamaican team had a number of foreign based players from the UK, so we knew we had to perform well to be competitive.
Submitted by davidniu on Tue, 2010-10-12 14:42
It's great to see Canada back on the international rugby league scene. Full credit to Jamie Lester and Eric Perez with the CRL. I know how hard it is to get rugby league going in areas not familiar with the sport, and I am really excited about the on field potential and the off field support they are developing. I was really impressed with the standard of footy the Canadian guys played in their first hit out at War at the Shore XIII in Sea Isle, NJ. It was obvious that Jamie knew what he was doing in developing some basic fundamentals but even more so in guiding the team around the field.