The USA has named its squad for the history-making women’s rugby league international against Canada in October.
The Redtails have announced a squad of 19 players for the USA’s first-ever test match. They’ll play the Ravens in Vancouver, BC, on October 9, 2021.
The entire squad is made up of rugby union players who have committed to helping develop women’s rugby league in America. The state of Florida dominates the squad with nine players hailing from the Sunshine State.
The squad was picked at the conclusion of several tournaments around the country, development days and a national camp in Illinois. More than 240 women had expressed a desire to get involved in the game.
“It was important to look at establishing the squad with some seasoned players initially, whilst providing the opportunity for players at a lesser age to gain experience as we further develop towards our main goal of making the 2025 RLWC,” USA Women’s Rugby League head coach Garen Casey told Rugby League Planet.
“There are players that will see some names on this list and say that they have played with them or against them. Our purpose is to engage with all ladies at every age and show them that they can get opportunities if they are willing to take the first step. These ladies did and they are getting rewarded for that.”
Casey says they will continue to develop the game domestically as they strive to implement their plan across multiple regions and through any competition because the focus is on the development of the women’s game and is not limited to a single source.
He says they need to create pathways and that means looking at all regions, competitions and experience levels.
Casey says he believes the next five to ten years will be an exciting time for the game.
“We will see Brazil debut at a World Cup, the USA come into international matches and competitions and as we continue to grow, we look forward to building tournaments and competitions that welcome overseas players to assist growing the game,” he continued.
“We can only hope that our ladies locally can embrace the game like what we are seeing in Brazil and with more opportunities, we can help make smaller countries like Jamaica, Costa Rica and Mexico for example, more prominent in the sport.
“It’s a one-in all-in approach for us so wherever we can add value to the game we will.”
Esther Anderson (Forward) Illinois
Jeanna Beard (Forward) Colorado
Samantha Black-Keels (Back) Florida (Capt)
Rachael Bradley (Utility) Florida
Chelsea Cashem (Back) Florida
Mackenzie Dirlam (Back) Florida
Nicole Fisch (Forward) Illinois
Trish Jarrett (Back) Florida
Victoria Jarrett (Back) Florida
Keki Jordan (Forward) Florida
Bridget Kapinus (Forward) Illinois
Cait King (Forward) North Carolina
Stacey Nemeth (Forward) Florida
Robyn Oliveri (Back) Florida
Kadie Sanford Illinois
Lauren Trout Illinois
DeVonna Francis (Utility) Ohio
Echo Hawton (Back) Utah
Terree Okabe (Forward) California