Madrid, Spain—The USA Women’s Sevens National Team will compete for the first time since the conclusion of the 2020 World Series this month in Madrid, Spain.
Head Coach Chris Brown has named his roster for two weekends of international play happening Feb 19-21 and 26-27. Full schedule, confirmed teams and broadcast details will be confirmed by event organizers in the coming days.
A total of 16 players will travel for both weekends with Kris Thomas and Abby Gustaitis named as co-Captains. Newcomers Sui A’au, Nia Toliver and Jaz Gray will join an experienced bunch as the squad takes the world stage for the first time in a year.
A’au was a standout for Grant in Oregon as a high-schooler and then for Central Washington, where she was a Sorensen Award finalist. Nia Toliver starred for ICEF/View Park Prep before going to New Zealand to hone her skills. Jaz Gray was a Raleigh Venom standout and then found the next step through the American Rugby Pro Training Center in Arkansas.
“It’s exciting that we finally get the chance to get back out and compete as a unit following a pretty frustrating last year,” said Head Coach Chris Brown. “We have been developing well and the internal competition is only getting stronger. We see a strong belief come through as the group continues to mature. It will be an awesome couple of weeks back on the road allowing us to get a solid checkpoint 6 months out from the Games.”
Hosted by Spain Rugby, the Madrid tournament will feature six men’s and women’s senior national teams as the first Olympic preparation tournament of 2021. As planning for the next HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series continues, teams have begun formal preparation for the Games which are confirmed for Tokyo this July.
In accordance with COVID-19 safety mandates, testing and quarantine measures are required for all participants prior to entry and during their stay in Madrid. Daily symptom checks, monitoring and track and trace measures are also in place to minimize the risks of exposure to the virus.
Players undergo COVID-19 testing before and after a mandatory 3-day quarantine, using antibody and echo cardiac testing. There will be periodic testing and mandatory ‘Bubble’ re-entry in the event of travel or uncontrolled community exposure during the assembly, and daily symptom and temperature checks as mandated by the USOPC and Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.
The players also undergo additional internal daily wellness checks, maintain distancing from staff, and follow additional rules.
USA Women’s Sevens Roster
Sui A’au, Prop, uncapped
Lauren Doyle, Flyhalf/Wing, 30 caps for 7s Eagles
Cheta Emba, Prop/Wing, 16
Abby Gustaitis, Prop/Hooker, 12
Nicole Heavirland, Hooker/Scrumhalf, 24
Kristi Kirshe, Center/Wing, 8
Ilona Maher, Center/prop, 12
Kayla Canett, Scrumhalf/Flyhalf, 10
Kasey McCravey, Hooker/Flyhalf, 4
Alena Olsen, Scrumhalf/Flyhalf, 3
Kristen Thomas, Hooker/Center, 26
Nia Toliver, Prop/Wing, uncapped
Stephanie Rovetti, Flyhalf/Wing, 6
Naya Tapper, Wing/Prop, 21
Nana Fa’avesi, Scrumhalf, 19
Jazmine Gray, Wing, uncapped
USA Women’s Sevens Staff
Head Coach | Chris Brown
Strength & Conditioning | Matt Long
Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas
Team Manager | Liz Strohecker
USA Women’s Sevens COVID-19 Safety Procedures
USA Women’s Sevens program reassembled in January following rigorous entry testing and quarantine process in accordance with local mandates and stringent protocols from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Programs utilize a robust contact tracing system to identify and minimize any exposure to the virus.