Friday, March 16, 2018

U.S.A. Rugby Launches Project Soar

Press Release

USA Rugby announced today, the launch of Project SOAR, a women's and men's coach development program designed to further the growth of high-performance (HP) coaches in the U.S. With four levels incorporating age-grade and senior stages of competition, Project SOAR streamlines the pathway to earn a National Team coaching appointment through fully-integrated workshops, presentations and various instructional regimen. More information about the program is available here, while the assessment quiz used for entry may be taken here . Both can also be found on

"It is critical that we build on previous initiatives executed in the USA Rugby HP Community such as the Women's Elite Coach Development Program, to truly build world-class coaches at home," said Emilie Bydwell, USA Rugby's General Manager for Women's High Performance. "This program not only develops our future National team and Age-Grade coaches, but advances home competition by increasing the knowledge exchange between National teams and domestic programs. Having a united initiative to develop both women's and men's coaches maximizes opportunities, increases exposure and leverages all our resources."

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Following the application process, 150 candidates will be selected to fill the four development levels of Project SOAR. Of those selected, 80 international coaches and athletes who show high potential will fill the Talent sector; 40 who currently work in domestic high-performance will comprise the Performance level; while 10-20 National Team Assistant Coaches and Age-Grade Head Coaches will fill the Elite level. Finally, 10 coaches with multiple years of international experience, including current National Team Head Coaches, will fill the Master level and serve as mentors for junior levels of the program.

"We are fortunate domestically to have such quality coaches at all levels, however at times have struggled to have a consistent and reliable framework to regularly keep these coaches integrated in the sharing of ideas," said JD Stephenson, Manager of Project SOAR. "With its curriculum, a tiered system allows for clear vertical progression as a High Performance Coach; streamlining the use of mentors in the most efficient and effective way. Additionally, it helps to identify key areas of development based on the collective concerns of a tier."

Once the application process and minimum requirements for entry have been met, coaches will have a collection of training seminars to complete through the course of their membership. With an emphasis on advancing to the next level, the program will include annual or semi-annual high-performance coaching workshops, monthly online presentations and an Individual Development Plan.

By creating an integrated network of support and a defined coaching pathway for all levels of competition, Project SOAR makes a considerable investment in the growth of the game in the United States.

"Project SOAR, like the Eagle Files, is another step forward in our chase to better connect many levels of the game to the shared systems of the Eagles," said Alex Magleby, USA Rugby's General Manager for High Performance. "Pressure in competition is key to developing future international coaches and to make improvements in elite domestic competition. Providing opportunities for feedback, mentorship, and sharing of ideas through Project Soar with help accelerate this growth."

Candidates for Project SOAR will be evaluated through the assessment quiz here. After meeting the minimum requirements and being placed in the appropriate level of entry, coaches will begin the process of development. For a full list of minimum requirements as well as in-depth information on the four levels of Project Soar, visit or click here.

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