USA Copperheads

Photo Credit: Karl Schweinf

The 2022 domestic rugby league season in the United States gets underway this coming weekend with the inaugural Naples Nines tournament in Florida.

The tournament is being hosted by the Southwest Florida Copperheads RLFC, a team in the USA Rugby League LLC (USARL) South Conference.

“It will be a day filled with excitement, sports, sun and fun in Southwest Florida,” says Copperheads CEO Curtis Goddard.

“Over 200 athletes are expected to participate in this inaugural multinational event. These athletes that are competing are coming from all over the USA and Jamaica.”

Twelve teams are registered for the tournament, eight of which will compete in the Men’s Open bracket and another four teams will compete in the Women’s Open bracket.

Included among the men’s teams will be the Jamaican national team, the Hurricanes, as well as the USARL Exiles representative side.

All four South Conference teams will also be competing, including the Copperheads, Jacksonville Axemen, Tampa Mayhem and South Florida Speed.

In the Women’s division, Roots Rugby, Jacksonville Jax Axe, Carolina Thunder, and a USA Exiles team will play for the title.

The tournament on Saturday, May 14, will feature a total of 25 matches, each of 20-minutes duration and will be played over a minimum of 9 hours.

It will be held at the multifaceted Paradise Sports Complex in Naples, FL. It has five professional-quality synthetic turf fields and a 3,500 seat Championship Stadium with a JumboTron scoreboard.

USA Hawks head coach Sean Rutgerson will hold a basic skills session prior to the tournament on Friday night.

Brian Lowe
Brian is a strong and effective communicator with more than 30 years’ experience in broadcast and electronic media. He has been writing for Rugby League Planet since 2012 and is frequently the first reporter to break news stories about the sport. He has been our North American correspondent reporting on news in the US, Canada and Jamaica covering everything from league standings to strategy analysis to breaking news on key trades to editorials and colourful features on athletes. He is now writing about rugby league on a broader scale to cover developments around the globe. An accomplished storyteller, Brian started his career in Australian radio, before moving to the United States. He is an experienced podcast host and producer and is also a successful TV commentator having done play-by-play and analysis for ESPN, FOX Sports and the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) among others.