The Runner Sports

USA Rugby League 2017 Schedule

The USA Rugby League (USARL) has a problem; leadership, direction, fan-friendliness, and strategic vision elude our domestic rugby league competition. With kickoff less than a month away, many of the club sites are out of date. The league site itself is a year old with regard to the clubs competing this season and has last season’s schedule up despite the 2017 seasons schedule having reportedly been finalized in February.

I have the schedules some of the clubs have posted available below but some of the dates are conflicting. ¬†Where is the USARL leadership coordinating a unified release? It’s a shame, especially considering the success of the Toronto Wolfpack throughout the rugby league community. With our national squad competing in the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) this year, it’s an opportunity missed. With Canada and the US hosting RLWC in 2025 it’s a failure by USARL’s leadership not to market their sport. It’s irresponsible to fans, players, coaches, and the overall clubs in general, with only eight years to improve North American awareness to the sport the USARL is starting out with a deficit in terms marketing. Rugby union in the US has many issues with popularity and is far and away the most popular of the two codes globally. League has a huge hill to climb and inept and disconnected leadership doesn’t help.

The USARL does have some advantages; it has structure, it has passionate club owners, it has a determined player-base, it has an established fan-base, and of the two codes it most closely resembles American football featuring collision-style tackles football fans like. Several clubs have YouTube sites and many of the matches or match highlights are available but there is no continuity or communication.

The USARL has a history of dictatorship style leadership and as is the case with nations, what follows is usually a laissez-faire approach that unfortunately could not have come at a worse time for the league. Rugby league is on the precipice of success, a nudge in the right direction and a coordinated marketing strategy could push league past union in North America. The fact that the leadership is so disconnected regarding reasons for a club not participating requiring an official release to counter bad information is just bad business.

The USARL is the governing body for rugby league in the US, an affiliate member of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) the global governing body, and an affiliate member of the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF). The RLIF and RLEF memberships mean money for the competition, global prestige, and overall opportunity for growth. League is popular in England, Australia, and New Zealand but growing elsewhere. The USARL is failing to impress both US fans and the affiliated federations. North America could be among the global leaders of rugby league but the USARL must get their act together.

There is hope

Jacksonville and Atlanta are among the handful of league clubs with strong leadership and a vision for league in the US. The Midwest Rugby League’s Chicago Stockyarders understand patience is needed for development and to ensure stability. Then there is the Texas Rugby League Association (TRLA), made up of four teams: the Dallas Dragons, Houston Seahawks, Austin Cowboys, and San Antonio Coyotes. These four clubs seem organized within the TRLA umbrella complete with women’s clubs and youth academies to further grow the sport. With a six-game schedule, the top two teams will face off in the TRLA Grand Final, the ultimate objective being the winner competing in the USARL. The mystery of the TRLA is that nothing has been heard from them since February.

The USARL as the governing body owes it to those in the US who look to them to organize the sport and they are failing. I understand the hesitation to be demanding of the clubs considering the failed history of the American National Rugby League but a hands-off approach is not working. There needs to be better coordination with the board and a chairman with power to hold members accountable. It’s understandable that each club must work together to develop their schedules but the USARL needs to release it in a single message. It’s understandable that each club may individually broadcast or stream their matches but the USARL needs to consolidate each into a single channel or website.

Leadership can come in many forms and while truly successful sports leagues have a single all-powerful commissioner, the USARL can be successful with a chairman who simply coordinates, collaborates, and communicates but for now the league, unfortunately, has very little of it.

USARL SCHEDULE

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE

May 27 South 9s

Atlanta Rhinos:

June 3 Jacksonville

June 10 @ Tampa

June 17 Central Florida

June 24 @ Jacksonville

July 8 @ Central Florida

July 15 Tampa

Jacksonville Axemen:

June 3 @ Atlanta

June 10 @ Central Florida

June 17 Tampa

June 24 Atlanta

July 8 @ Tampa

July 15 Central Florida

Tampa Mayhem:

June 3 @ Central Florida

June 10 Atlanta

June 17 @ Jacksonville

June 24 Central Florida

July 8 Jacksonville

July 15 Atlanta

Central Florida Warriors:

June 3 Tampa

June 10 Jacksonville

June 17 @ Atlanta

June 24 Tampa

July 8 Atlanta

July 15 Jacksonville

NORTHERN CONFERENCE

Mid-Atlantic

Delaware Black Foxes:

June 3 @ No. Virginia

June 10 Philadelphia

June 17 @ White Plains

June 24 Rhode Island

July 8 @ Philadelphia

July 15 No. Virginia

July 22 @ Boston

July 29 White Plains

No. Virginia Eagles: Partial schedule

June 3 Delaware

June 10

June 17 @ Philadelphia

June 25 Brooklyn

July 8

July 15 @ Delaware

July 22 Philadelphia

July 29 @ Brooklyn

Philadelphia Fight:

June 4 Brooklyn

June 10 @ Delaware

June 17 No. Virginia

June 24 Boston

July 8 Delaware

July 15 New York

July 22 @ No. Virginia

July 29 @ Rhode Island

Northeast

Boston 13: Partial schedule

June 3

June 10 @ Brooklyn

June 17

June 24 @ Philadelphia

July 8

July 15

July 22 Delaware

July 29

Brooklyn Kings:

June 4 @ Philadelphia

June 10 Boston 13’s

June 18 @ New York Knights

June 25 @ NOVA Eagles

July 8 Rhode Island Rebellion

July 15 @ White Plains Wombats

July 22 New York Knights

July 29 NOVA Eagles

New York Knights: Partial schedule

June 3

June 10

June 18 Brooklyn

June 24

July 8

July 15 @ Philadelphia

July 22 @ Brooklyn

July 29

Rhode Island Rebellion: Partial schedule

June 3

June 10

June 17

June 24 @ Delaware

July 8 Brooklyn

July 15

July 22

July 29 Philadelphia

White Plains Wombats: Partial schedule

June 3

June 10

June 17 Delaware

June 24

July 8

July 15 Brooklyn

July 22

July 29 @ Delaware

USARL Post Season

July 29 South Playoffs Round 1

August 5 Mid-Atlantic Playoffs

August 12 Northern Final, South Final

August 26 Grand Final

Jason Graves
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Jason Graves

USA Rugby Writer at The Runner Sports
Just a guy with a passion for rugby. Critical thinker and problem solver who likes to write. My sports writing role model was an objective fan, the great Mike Royko!
Jason Graves
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