For Immediate Release
January 26, 2011
USA Traveling Squad Named for Wellington, Vegas
CHULA VISTA, Calif. – USA Men’s Eagle Sevens coach, Al Caravelli, has announced the 12-man squad he will take to Wellington and Las Vegas for the next two stages in the HSBC Sevens World Series. Caravelli said that camp was extremely productive and positive, a good indication of the mental preparedness of the squad.
Two-a-day trainings and stiff competition were on the program for the current player pool. Ten of the players attending the camp did not make the squad, but the effort and dedication of all the players at the camp was notable and evident.
“Every player at camp had a good showing…As we strive for consistency, the better performers were selected. We have worked a lot on defense, communication and mental strength, the latter being one of the highlights of the camp,” said Caravelli.
“Focusing on our goal of keeping a consistent core of players, we made only three changes between the last tournament and the Wellington and Las Vegas stages.”
Returning as captain is Matt Hawkins and vice-captain Shalom Suniula earned his spot on the squad again. Veterans Mark Bokhoven, Zack Test, Marco Barnard, and Roland Suniula performed well and earned selection. Returning for the next two stages are sevens newcomers Miles Craigwell and Nu’u Punimata and All-American Colin Hawley.
The three new additions to this season’s squad aren’t new editions at all, really. Veteran Paul Emerick is back with renewed vigor. Emerick brings ample experience to the squad, but at camp he proved hasn’t lost a step in terms of speed or explosiveness. Youngster Tai Enosa rejoins the squad from last season and the much anticipated return of “the closer,” Justin Boyd, rounds out the list of old newcomers. Boyd will bring an injection of finishing speed to the squad after an 18 month injury recovery.
“A few new things were introduced to the staff and athletes that have been amazing for us. We are very fortunate to work with the USOC’s High Performance team. Our sports psychologist, Peter Hebrel, is just amazing. He has six Olympics to his credit. What is really encouraging is that the players are very open-minded to his techniques. I have already seen results personally and with a few of the athletes as well. We are looking forward to applying our new talents in Wellington,” Caravelli said.
The Eagles’ camp coincided with the “Olympic 7s Youth Tournament” hosted by the San Diego Wallabies, a rapidly-growing youth team, at the Olympic Training Center. The Eagles were “amazed” at the turnout of nearly 600 sevens players between the ages of eight and 14, a sign that the game they play is gaining traction in the country they play for.
The encouraging mindset of the camp was reflected in the positive reaction from the parents of the young players. Caravelli was flooded by parents gushing about the character and humility of the Eagles and mentioning that they are great role models. The team was made available for over two hours to chat with kids and sign autographs.
LOOKING TO WELLINGTON
The USA has a tough but manageable pool in Wellington and the squad will look to get into the quarterfinals. First, the Eagles will play England who won the first stage of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Dubai. Next, the USA will take on Wales who are one ranking spot ahead of the Eagles in the 2010-2011 Series. The final match of day one in Wellington will see the Eagles take on the Cook Islands.
USA EAGLE SEVENS PLAYER POOL
Matt Hawkins* (Belmont Shore), Marco Barnard (Unattached), Mark Bokhoven (Denver Barbarians), Shalom Suniula (Brisbane), Zach Test (Loughborough University), Miles Craigwell (NYAC / Spearhead Academy), Nuese Punimata (Old Puget Sound Beach), Roland Suniula (Unattached), Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore), Paul Emerick (Unattached), Colin Hawley (Sacramento), Justin Boyd (Frisco Griffins)
Head Coach – Al Caravelli
Assistant Coach – Dave Williams
ATC – Kristen Douhan
Video Analyst – Paul Goulding
Assistant Coach (non-traveling) – Andy Katoa