The Runner Sports

Glendale Raptors Launch Men’s U20 Elite Development Program – Shaping Tomorrow’s Professionals Today

One thing is clear; there is a lot of talk in our country about rugby development but the Glendale Raptors don’t just talk, they act. The launch of the Raptors’ U20 Elite Development Program is a clear signal to the rest of the rugby nation, we are here not to win but to dominate!

According to the official press release out of Glendale, the program is designed to combine “technical, tactical, physical, psychological, nutritional,” and skills designed to ultimately create well-rounded athletes guided by professional coaches.

Experienced coach Dave Synnott will lead the U20 squad. Aside from guiding the Wayne State College women’s team to two national NSCRO titles, his experience includes high school All-American at the state and national levels. His ties to the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy (EIRA) doesn’t hurt the Englishman’s resumé either.

The EIRA is the closest organization in our country to a rugby minor league development system or regional scouting at the moment. The vision of EIRA is to “close the gap” between the US and the rest of the rugby world, whose mission is to “identify and develop the best young rugby players in America,” and to develop coaching. They are regionally focused with academies in nine major markets across the country from New York to Southern California including the Northwest and Texas where four of the nine Major League Rugby clubs are located. Then there is Glendale.

The Raptors have solidified an agreement as official partners with EIRA developing a player pipeline giving Glendale a robust development program to identify players for the Raptors men’s development squad as well as their own Raptors Academy with a pathway to the Elite squad. It seems that each week news emerges from Glendale separating themselves from the pack in regard to player development.

Glendale has already proven capable of developing players to compete at the international level with six Raptors selected as Eagles for this season’s Summer Series and Rugby World Cup Qualifier versus Canada. The development program will only further Glendale’s ability to provide international selection options to the USA Eagles.


-By Jason Graves