USA Rugby have announced the appointment of Emilie Bydwell as General Manager of Women's High Performance.
Bydwell, a former international player and recently team manager to the Women’s Eagles Sevens team, joins USA Rugby in a full-time capacity to advance all aspects of the women's platform, from player and coach development to team supervision in both 15s and sevens.
"This is an important step forward as we look to provide support and structure to drive women's rugby forward in the United States." said USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne. "Emilie's impressive history in rugby - both as a player and as a coach - will provide the organisation with a wealth of expertise. More importantly, her dedication to player development, meticulous attention to detail and alignment of her goals with USA Rugby's is going to help set a strong foundation for our women's high-performance programme."
A native of Montreal in Canada, Bydwell served as the team manager under Richie Walker for the Women's Eagles Sevens in 2016 for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Bydwell also assisted Farrah Douglas' Girls High School All-Americans to a Europe Women's U18 Sevens Championship in addition to her attack coach duties with the 15s team.
She will continue to work alongside her former employers and USA Rugby Academy partners Atavus to ensure the facility’s continued success in developing young talent.
"The creation of this role represents a huge advancement for rugby in the US, it is an honour for me to be the first General Manager of Women's High Performance" said Bydwell. "I began to mentor and coach age grade athletes while I was playing, since then I've dedicated my career to developing players and pathways.
"There have been significant improvements the last few years in growing the talent pool and infrastructure around the women's game. I intend to support and further that progression by providing vision, collaboration, planning and ultimately the execution needed to build a world-class pathway and programme the US deserves."
Bydwell developed through the USA Rugby pathway, first finding the game at Brown University where she was a three time All-American and 2007 College Player of the Year. A year later, Bydwell made her Women's Eagles debut with the 15s team against England. Competing in the 2010 and 2014 Women's Rugby World Cups, the outside centre amassed 21 caps and was selected as vice-captain.
Bydwell also played sevens for the USA, including at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 when they reached the semi-finals, before hanging up her boots two years later after a title-winning season in the English Premiership with Saracens where World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi was among her team-mates.
The 32-year-old gained a useful insight into how the Rugby Football Union managed women’s rugby during her time in England, information that will prove useful as she develops a strategy designed to build on the recent gains made by women’s rugby in the US, notably at WRWC 2017 where the Women’s Eagles reached the semi-finals.
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