The USA women’s national team is set to kick start its 2.0 phase at the Americas North Championships that start this weekend in Jamaica.
The United States, Canada and Jamaica will face each other in the new International Rugby League (IRL) tournament for women.
The first game of the series is set for this Saturday, September 23, with the USA Hawks taking on the Jamaica Women Reggae Warriors in Kingston. The Canada Ravens start their campaign on Monday, September 25, when they play the Americans.
The Americas North Championships are being run under the auspices of the European Rugby League (ERL) as part of the IRL’s revamped international calendar which was prompted by France dropping out as host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
Saturday’s game will be just the second ever for the US side which debuted against Canada in April last year under the name Redtails. Since then, the US Association of Rugby League (USARL) Inc. has assumed responsibility for the women’s program and the board changed the team’s name to Hawks to coincide with the national men’s and wheelchair teams.
Hawks women’s committee chair Miranda Barnard says the roster boasts some of the best talent across the United States, including some players who were in the squad that traveled to Canada under the previous branding.
“The USARL women’s committee worked hard behind the scenes in order to maintain the momentum off the heels of the test match vs Canada,” she tells Rugby League Planet. “This year the committee was able to organize and host both an East and West Coast Talent ID camp which revealed some hidden talent.”
She says the players come from regions right across the US such as Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, California and Chicago.
Barnard says because league is brand new for women in the US and with the original two women’s teams being formed only three years ago, the majority of the players have a rugby union background.
“Over the past 18 months these athletes participated in Talent ID camps and have been training and playing with their US based domestic teams,” she says. “In preparation of the Americas tour, the women have been hitting the gym working alongside our strength and conditioning coach that has developed individual, group and specialty strength and conditioning programs.
“The information is shared virtually to the coaching staff that spend time weekly, if not daily, reviewing the stats. The athletes have been virtually participating in film review and strategy sessions hosted by the USARL women’s committee.”
As for players to watch, Barnard suggests all of them.
“For big hits we’d suggest you focus on our forward line, for the speed and agility our back line is ready to soar!”
And she says she thinks the Americas North Championships series is a wonderful boost for women’s rugby league.
“This achievement further proves that there is a place for women in rugby league within the States,” says Barnard. “The women and men that form the Women’s Hawks committee have been fully committed to making sure this has been planned down to the finest details. We anticipate the athletes will put the bow on top of this experience with an astounding performance in both matches.
“No doubt these matches will highlight all of the hard work that has been invested. The squad will play extremely well as it has all the pieces that make up champions; full of strength, knowledge and most of all heart.”
Barnard adds that they are grateful to title sponsor Dee’s Nuts for their financial contribution towards making this tour a success.
USA Women’s Hawks squad:
Sarah Anderson, Nicole Fisch, Kadie Sanford (Chicago North Shore), Marcaya Bailous, Narcisse Jordan, Danielle Pola Walko-Siua (Cleveland), Jeanna Beard (unaffiliated), Samantha Black-Keels, Rachael Bradley, Robyn Oliveri, Nicole Snyder (Tampa Mischief), Mariah Blackmore, Maxine Fonua (San Jose Seahawks), Cyndi Campbell , Caitlin Davis (Carolina Storm), Agnes Fuerst, Tiana Granby, Paris Hart, Brittany Royes, Christine Sargent, Sha Marica Scott (Roots Rugby), Courtney Treco (London Broncos), Taylor White (Jacksonville Women)
Americas North Championships schedule:
Game 1: Jamaica vs USA, University of West Indies, Kingston – Saturday, September 23
Game 2: USA vs Canada, University of West Indies, Kingston – Monday, September 25
Game 3: Jamaica vs Canada, University of West Indies, Kingston – Wednesday, September 27