SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - U.S Air Force Rugby is proud to announce Lisa Rosen as head coach of the Air Force Women's Sevens program.
Coach Rosen, one of the best at identifying, developing and coaching elite rugby talent, comes to the program with Air Force Rugby experience, having served as head coach of Air Force Academy Women's Rugby 2012-15. Prior head coaching jobs include the Collegiate All American Women, Glendale Raptor Women, Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union (MARFU) Under-23 side and as assistant coach/staff member for the USA Under-23, Under-20 and Under-19 Women’s National Teams.
From Tigertown Complex in Lakeland, Florida, where Coach Rosen is currently assisting with the Women's Eagles National All-Star Competition:
From a program standpoint, first and foremost we have to create something sustainable. In the uncertain world that is military service, there will always be deployments, policy change, and resource issues. We cannot count on having the same 12 players nor coaches at every assembly. We need a cadre of serious coaches who have the capacity to assemble successful teams in short periods of time. The recent pivot to rugby 7s by Armed Forces Sports certainly helps.
In parallel, we have an opportunity to demonstrate the potential that military players have in contributing to the success of our Olympic and other National team programs.
Since the USA started competing internationally, there have been military personnel trading in their blues, greens, and whites for a red, white and blue jersey to honor their country on the pitch. On the women's side, from the Air Force's own Krista McFarren ('91 World Cup winner) to today's Shaina Turley, Jane Paar, and so many more, the military has always had a strong rugby tradition. Only 1% of the general population puts on a uniform, yet the military players find their way into every US team. That's something worth paying attention to.
I'd like to see this program take an active role in raising the profile and demonstrating the legitimacy of Military Rugby, as a pathway to national team play.
U.S. Air Force Women’s Sevens debuts in March at the Las Vegas Invitational Rugby Tournament, which coincides with the HSBC Men & Women Sevens World Series, 2-5 March. For many of the athletes, this will be their first experience in a elite environment and a great opportunity to showcase their skills.
More from Rosen:
I'm familiar with about half of the [Air Force] athletes and there is considerable talent. Our challenge isn't talent, it is our isolation from each other. We will be competing against academy programs that screen for the best players in their area, provide daily access to skill development, have ample resources, have professional/semi professional coaches, and have been together for years. We will definitely face some seasoned international players, and we might even face an international team or two. It will be up to the coaching team to be precise with the systems and structures put in place, and do so in a way that lets the individuals express their own unique talents. There won't be a ton of time to prepare, so everyone's going to have to be on point.
This will always be a reality, so it's up to us to create our own formula for success. Certainly, we can do many of the more academic things at a distance, and front load as much as is appropriate, but that's not enough.
We have to be creative. We have to be resourceful. We have to be adaptive. These three qualities in both coaches and players - before Vegas, in Vegas, after Vegas - all will be critical in building something that can last.
I haven't a clue [how we'll do in Vegas], but it's going to be an exciting journey to finding out.