USARL and Sydney Roosters Forge Landmark Partnership to Elevate Rugby League in the U.S.

Investment to Establish West Coast Academy, Enhance Youth Programs, and Support Game Development.
USARL and Sydney Roosters Forge Landmark Partnership to Elevate Rugby League in the U.S.

Jacksonville, FL, 6.11.24 – The US Association of Rugby League (USARL) announced today a landmark partnership with the Sydney Roosters. This strategic collaboration aims to significantly accelerate the growth of rugby league in the United States through a multi-faceted investment, including the establishment of the Roosters West Coast Academy, substantial support for development and grass roots initiatives, and the establishment of the LA Roosters in 2025.    

Key Components of the Agreement:

West Coast Academy Program:

The Sydney Roosters West Coast Rugby League Academy will be launched with George Tupou being appointed as the Head of the Roosters West Coast Academy. George will be working closely with Craig Walker, Head of Football Programs, and the USARL Coaching, Match Officials, and Pathways committee. The program will also be an opportunity for development of our domestic coaches, and match officials to develop alongside Roosters high-performance staff who will attend and support the academy biannually. 


George Tupou, Head of the Roosters West Coast Academy, stated: “The establishment of the West Coast Academy demonstrates our commitment to nurturing local talent and building a strong foundation for rugby league in the U.S. This is just the beginning of an exciting journey for our young athletes.”

Support for Youth Rugby:
The partnership also underscores a strong commitment to youth rugby league, with the Rooster Academy logo prominently featured on the Youth Hawks kit for the upcoming European Championship in Serbia. This sponsorship includes financial support for the tour, highlighting the importance of nurturing young athletes and providing them with international exposure.

Club Development Fund:

Another key and notable feature of this partnership is the establishment of a Club Development Fund. This fund will be available for all four conferences (FRL, PCRL, RLU, and URLA) for financial assistance to support game development initiatives. These initiatives may include running youth programs, establishing new clubs, developing women’s programs, and furthering the sport’s reach and inclusivity.

Major Partner of USARL Referees:

The Sydney Roosters will be a major partner in helping the USARL establish new referees and develop current referees across all competitions in the US.

Introduction of LA Roosters to PCRL Competition:   

In 2025, the LA Bandidos Rugby League Club will officially rebrand as the LA Roosters, reflecting the Sydney Roosters’ support in addition to the other items listed above. The jersey will feature the Los Angeles Roosters and PCRL logos. The team will be located between Newport and Long Beach and will be coached and managed by an LA local, Emiliano Nash, who has permitted the club to rebrand the team he founded in 2023. The club will operate under the same terms as other clubs, as a local amateur side with player caps and transfers monitored by the PCRL.

Matt Goschnick, USARL Chair, expressed his excitement about the partnership: “This is an exciting day for Rugby League in the U.S. The agreement with the Sydney Roosters marks a significant milestone in our efforts to grow the sport. This agreement is a true partnership which enables us to leverage the expertise of a professional organization to enhance our development programs and provide more opportunities for our players and coaches.”

Joe Kelly, CEO of the Sydney Roosters, remarked: “We are extremely excited to partner with USA Rugby League. This landmark agreement presents a unique opportunity to expand the reach of rugby league and share our expertise in game development with a passionate and growing rugby community in the United States. We believe this partnership will have a significant impact on the growth of the sport internationally and we are incredibly optimistic as to the opportunities that exist to unearth future rugby league talent in the US.”

Ady Cooney, President of the PCRL, added: “This announcement marks a new beginning for Rugby League in the US and especially on the West Coast. We’re excited to see how the Roosters can boost the game’s visibility, develop local talent, and create pathways into the NRL and NRLW.”

Speaking about the establishment of the Los Angeles Roosters, Mr. Nash said: “I truly believe there’s a lot of talent here in the U.S., and the fact that we will be part of this journey is a blessing. The name will change, but our goal remains the same. Thank you, Sydney Roosters, for the opportunity and support to grow this game.”

Goschnick also highlighted the significance of The Club Development Fund stating, “…it is a critical component of our partnership with the Sydney Roosters. It provides essential resources to grassroots clubs and leagues, enabling them to grow the game at the local level and foster a thriving rugby league community across the U.S. We hope it serves as a catalyst for future investment in the game across the nation by the NRL and other partners as we continue to develop and grow awareness in the game.”

This historic partnership sets the stage for the future growth and success of rugby league in the United States. By combining the resources and expertise of the Sydney Roosters with the strategic initiatives of the USARL, this collaboration provides a robust platform for youth development, community engagement, and professional growth within the sport. As rugby league continues to gain traction across the U.S., this partnership will serve as a catalyst for expanding its reach, enhancing its visibility, and elevating its competitive standards. The shared vision of both organizations is to create lasting opportunities for aspiring athletes, coaches, and officials, ensuring that rugby league becomes a staple sport for future generations in America.


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About USARL:

The United States Association of Rugby League Inc. (USARL) is the national governing body of Rugby League in the United States of America, as sanctioned by the International Rugby League (IRL). The USARL is dedicated to promoting and developing the sport of Rugby League at all levels in the USA. The USARL oversees various competitions, including Men, Women, Youth and Wheelchair Rugby League, providing opportunities for players and communities of all ages and abilities to participate and enjoy our great sport. The pinnacle of our sport for the players in the USA is to be selected in the USA Hawks National Rugby League Team. USARL aims to grow Rugby League by maintaining high standards of governance, performance, pathways and education for and with all our stakeholders.