By Brian Lowe,
As we usher in a new year, and the start of a new decade, a new American rugby league club has plans to announce its arrival on the scene during the US domestic season.
The Columbus Voyagers have revised their initial plans and now aim to be up and running by this summer.
Based in Ohio, the team is set to become part of a new Midwest Conference.
Originally, the club had set its sights on a 2019 start-up date, but according to Voyagers’ CEO Frank Mitchell they hit some bumps in the road along the way.
“It’s looking like 2020 is going to be our year,” he tells RugbyLeaguePlanet.
“We wanted 2019 but recruiting was not up to par, so we’re going to be more aggressive. We’ve already begun.”
Last summer, Mitchell said the club was having talks with the city of Columbus Sports Commission in the hopes of working together to establish rugby league in the Buckeye State’s capital.
As for the Midwest Rugby League’s (MWRL) proposal to become part of the USA Rugby League’s (USARL) domestic clubs competition, those plans are still very much front and centre.
The MWRL set its sights a couple of seasons back on getting approval by the USARL LLC, the national governing body of the clubs competition, to become an expansion conference in 2020.
While there have been some preliminary discussions with USARL, that proposal wasn’t tabled at last year’s USARL annual general meeting, but the MWRL is hopeful that it will be discussed at this month’s AGM.
Currently, the USARL’s domestic competition comprises two conferences, North and South, both of which are based on the east coast.
As well as that, a new California Rugby League held its initial exhibition games in December ahead of its planned inaugural season this year and there are also moves afoot to establish a Texas Rugby League.