Story by USA WhRL Hawks Team Manager: Juan Jasso

Challenges and Opportunities

The US national team faces many challenges in preparation for this year’s Rugby League World Cup. The group is managed and run by passionate volunteers. The group is also self-funded but looking to gain the financial support of businesses and individuals to sustain and develop the national team program. The challenges faced by an adapted sports organization are not shared by those of its abled-bodied counterparts.

This difference in the level of challenges faced means our program has great financial costs associated with travel, lodging, and clothing requirements. These greater financial costs will also be similar for the domestic competition and its establishment. A 501(3)c non-profit organization was established in 2019, the Carolina League Academy, which is the parent organization for the National Team and Domestic competition. This allows for both setups to receive donations from businesses and individuals.

While these challenges need to be met to establish and grow the game, the future is bright as we can see the slow growth of the game. For every combine and training session held the number of participants and interested parties grows. The sport has been introduced to Veterans, Para-Olympians, and Elite Adaptive athletes, who have all expressed their personal excitement and potential for Wheelchair Rugby League in the USA. We foresee that our game will have an explosion of interest and involvement from many all over the US.

We are organizing and preparing for this explosion of interest in the sport of wheelchair rugby league. Working away in the background the creation of coaching qualifications, match officials’ courses, policies, protocols, research, By-laws, Accounts, Board of Governance, and much more. The involvement with so many different groups allows this sport to be unique in that men, women, adaptive athletes, veterans, and abled-bodied can all participate side by side in competition, as a team, as friends, and as a family.

While we face many challenges, which we are confident we will overcome with support, the potential for Wheelchair Rugby League in the USA looks amazing and we are eager to see its growth and development.

Come down and support the national team or domestic teams at training sessions or competitions. Look out for the dates and times of these and come to support USA Wheelchair Rugby League.


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