USAT Sends Girls and Boys to Youth Touch World Cup 2018

Announced in early 2018, the Federation of International Touch reinstated the operation of the Youth Touch World Cup. Held in Kuala Lumpur in August, the event gives USA Touch the opportunity to work on our youth development vision listed in our 2015-2019 USA Touch Strategic Plan. Newly appointed USA Touch Youth Coordinator, Kaitlin Sigado was tasked with building both the boys and girls U18 sides to attend this tournament.

Team USA U18 Girls

Players were first selected from USA Touch membership clubs, bringing players from Arizona, California, Cayman, Florida, Oregon, and Utah. We also acquired five USA eligible players in Australia and Singapore, to finalize both squads with 29 total athletes selected to be the first USA teams to participate in the Youth Touch World Cup.

Team USA U18 Boys

Nathan Murray was chosen to be the coach of the U18 boys and Molly Luft was leading the U18 girls. Both coaches were instrumental in providing a positive team environment under the direction of High Performance General Manager, JD Stephenson.

Management and support staff assembled in San Francisco on the 3rd of August, which coincided with the West Coast Open and Senior Touch World Cup Development Camp. Youth players were fitted with kit and spent time getting to know their future teammates. They were then sent off with presentations by USA Touch veterans speaking about the opportunities in front of them and the trail they would be blazing for the future of youth touch in the United States.

Seeing as how this was the first time all the players had been together at once, a plan was put in place to get acclimatized to the heat and to each other as quickly as possible. Developed by Player Performance Director Justin Goonan, the players recovered from the flight and were ready to take on any conditions brought on during the trip. The players came together faster than anticipated and were given the day off on Tuesday to tour Kuala Lumpur as a group.  Day one of the tournament started on Wednesday morning with an opening ceremony where each country was able to walk into the stadium and meet with the other players who had traveled from all over the world.

Both teams were up against further-developed touch nations, with the U18 girls having Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and Malaysia in their pool, and the U18 boys having Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa in theirs. Both teams developed extremely fast against the best competition in the world and coaches were able to see their development as they continued to adapt to the speed and experience of the other teams.

This tour has set us up to further develop the youth game here in the United States, as we plan to send team to the European Junior Championships in the off years leading up to future Youth Touch World Cups. The tour has been a massive success for the pathway of USA Touch. Tommy Kehoe of Cayman was named player of the tournament for the U18 Boys division and all players came home with a positive experience to take back to their clubs. A special thanks to all those who supported this tour and came together to make it happen.

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