USARL–Breakaway Competition in America

From the USARL Organisation

January 10, 2011 (NEW YORK, NEW YORK) – Nine prominent Rugby League clubs announced the formation of a new national competition today, the USA Rugby League (, which will hold its inaugural season in the summer of 2011.

Seven clubs that have committed to the inaugural USARL competition already have a history of top-level Rugby League play in the United States.  These clubs are the Boston 13s, the D.C. Slayers, the Fairfax (VA) Eagles, the Jacksonville Axemen, the New Haven Warriors, the Philadelphia Fight and the Pittsburgh Vipers.  They will be joined by two expansion clubs: the New Jersey Knights and Kodiak Rugby from New York City.

One of the key differences between the USARL and any other rugby leagues in the USA is that it is a member cooperative.  As stated by Daryl “Spinner” Howland of the Jacksonville Axemen:  “The formation of the USARL is a watershed moment in the history of Rugby League in America.  The USA has never before had a Governing Body where the Member Clubs all have an equal opportunity to progress themselves as well as the League to which they are all a part, via a true democratic process that includes elections.  We feel that the USARL will allow us to support other clubs, and visa versa, in league wide efforts to see our years of investment progress Rugby League, while also having a voice in the direction the Governing Body takes the sport.”

Ryan P. McGough, President of the Philadelphia Fight, expressed the same sentiments.  “It will be nice to be part of a League where the Clubs have a direct say, form the long-term vision and have a clear financial stake in the result.”

Important Additional Information:

The USA Rugby League (USARL) is the source for high-level, semi-professional Rugby League competition in the USA.  Formed on the principles of transparency, accountability and equal voting and equity participation by its participants, the USARL is a cooperative of the Member Clubs.  The USARL will hold its inaugural season in the summer of 2011.  The USARL is also committed to developing the sport of Rugby League at a grassroots level and a true focus of expanding the sport both in player numbers and in youth initiatives. This commitment embraces the sport at semi-professional and amateur levels in an effort to further progress Rugby League.

© 2011 USA Rugby League LLC, all rights reserved.
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28 Responses to “USARL–Breakaway Competition in America”

  1. juro says:

    I was expecting you to add some comments of your own rather than just quoting the media release. I guess I will have to be a bit more patient…

    • druzik says:

      I will, but all in good time Juro.

      1st I want to get all the fact straight from both sides… I have had a lot of info come through and so I need to sift through it all… and am also waiting on a response from certain parties.

      Plus I want to see what the reactions are from people, not just fans but also administrators.

      and I want to have this done in a balanced way, not some reactionary, hysterical thing as seems to be the trend at the moment.

      Hopefully, I wont disappoint you… but in the mean time, the Presser is an important source of info that need to be got out in an independent site. So I have put it out.

  2. Cheyne Maher says:

    Wow! I have seen a few comments on some of your blogs referring to rumblings behind the scenes in the USA, but i didn’t realise they were this serious. Apart from these few comments i hadn’t heard anything about it all, but this seems like a pretty big deal, yeah!?!?

    Reading the words “member cooperative” it sounds a little like the equivalent of our much hailed ” independent commission”, where in the clubs are the owners of the game?? Is that an accurate understanding of what the clubs are trying to acheive in setting up USARL, or am i misinterpretting it??

    And what does this mean for the original AMNRL??? From my basic understanding of the sport in the USA it seems a lot of the clubs mentioned above are in fact the bulk of (if not all of) the AMNRL teams from 2010??

    If this is the case does this mean there is no AMNRL competition and what does it mean for the WAMNRL? Is this the equivalent of if Super League had signed all of the clubs overnight and left the ARL with no teams and no competition???

    Or am i really jumping to conclusions??


    A million questions i know and you may not really know the answers, but i figure you are the best place to start asking?? I’ll watch with interest.

    Cheers mate

  3. Cheyne Maher says:

    I just read your first response to Juro and i think you are playing it well…..not making any opinions or statements until you know the facts from both sides, so i understand if you feel you cant answer some or all of my questions that i just bombarded you with.

    I know i am certainly way too uninformed to form a fair opinion…..i just hope whatever comes out of this potentially sticky situation is best for the game. There is no doubt people on both sides deeply care for the game and want to see it prosper in the USA, lets just hope all parties can reach the best possible outcome for the sport and that the individuals involved on both sides are happy with what proceeds from here. The outcome could be quite significant either way for the code in general!

  4. C.T.SANDERS says:

    There has always been breakaway groups in rugby league since 1895 and there’s going to be more trouble here in auckland soon.
    Read this space and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that there could be a split in america soon and course there was a split in russia in the mid-90’s and just recently the russian rugby union wanted to destroy rl in russia for once and for all but failed.
    The trouble is that the rlif don’t care about rl in the usa,russia or afghanistan.
    To them rl is only a club thing and reverting back to a tri-nations in 2014 shows their true colours in that they aren’t interested in spreading the game.Too much hard work in their eyes which is the same mentality as the old styled tours.

    • International League says:

      I had not heard that the RLIF were reverting back to a tri nations in 2014. When was this announced?

      I think this might be good for RL in the US as it may mean more money will get thrown around to attract the better players. MAYBE.

    • Joel says:

      Well administrators will likely back AMNRL no matter what, if is the same case as the Italian split? No matter the circumstances?

      USARL, similar case as our Italia RFL. In beliefs, reasons and aims/goals for rugby league.

  5. C.T.SANDERS says:

    You seem to know more about it than anyone else joel because you are speaking from experience but rl always comes through in the end no matter what.
    We have seen splits before in australia and england and there will soon be a split here in auckland which is long overdue.
    The game always win in the long run and can’t wait for italy and france to square off.

    • Jordan_B says:

      Hey C.T.SANDERS,

      Intresting to see that you suggest that there will be a split in Auckland some time soon. Would you care to shed some light on this as I am very interested to hear what you know? Cheers Jordan

  6. Corey T says:

    USA has had splits in all their major sports and then re-joined them later on. Look at the NFL, it is made up of 2 old competitions the NFC and the AFC were 2 different competitions originally. The MLB was the American League and the National League coming together, the NBA is a combination of 2 organisations finally coming together, so hopefully this split may find its way back to making a stronger competition in the end.

    America is a bit different to Australia in that it could possibly support this, as people over in the US have a favourite sport but support all their local teams, no matter what the code. Also, the population could be a big factor in the survival of two competitions of the same sport surviving….hopefully.

  7. C.T.SANDERS says:

    It’s the dawning of a great era corey.America will save the game from oblivion because in 10 or 20 years time there mightn’t be any rugby league here in new zealand at all.

  8. dragons4eva says:

    Hopefully ALL of the RL staff and administrators in the USA put their heads together and come up with a solution to help ALL parties.

  9. C.T.SANDERS says:

    What the problem dragons4 eva?There could be 4 or 5 separate competitions in america and it wouldn’t effect rl development in that country at all in the long term.
    A mountain out of a molehill but the trouble is that the dismal jimmies on the eastern seaboard of australia,the hapeless poms along the m62 and the pigs around the trough here in auckland are all hoping that rugby league falls over in america.
    That’s the whole point.

  10. C.T.SANDERS says:

    It’s not politics like some people on this site think but it’s about the overall survival of the game here[where’re you from] because the game has been runned into the ground and there’s no interest in the sport at all.
    Rugby league is a dying game because the officials at auckland are losing money hand over fist in reguards to developing the game and have no idea of how to go about making money on the football side of things.
    The vulcans have cost us 3.5 million over the last 4 years for no return and time to pull the plug on it for once and for all[let the warriors pay for it all] because it’s a waste time and resources and the nsw cup doesn’t spread the game.
    No different from the tours of the past and there are too many lawyers and accountants runing our game and they all know sweet fa.
    Time for new blood otherwise there mightn’t be a game at all soon and you people have all been warned that unless something is done the future looks very bleak.
    For instance rugby are going to have a under 85 kilogram world cup soon a idea that they stole from me on this site and watch one sport prosper and the other continue to stagnate and remain a cinderalla sport and the laughing stock.
    Rugby league is a circus run by clowns.

  11. ParraEelsNRL says:

    I smell a PW clone pretending to support RL.

    Love your work Dru, keep it up mate.

  12. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Under 85 kilogram rugby union is saving their game here in auckland because both rugby union and rugby league are dominated by islanders who mature a lot quicker than pakehas or europeans.That’s why soccer is booming here in nz and it outnumbers both rugby and rl 10 to 1.
    The College rifles rugby club here in auckland will organise an under 85 kilogram rugby union world cup in 2 years time and there will be 30 international teams taking part in this festival of rugby.
    I gave them the idea in the first place.
    ok daniel.
    After all rugby union stole rl,s world cup 33 years after we staged our orginal one in 1954.

  13. C.T.SANDERS says:

    No one gets hurt playing in a weight restricted football grade.That’s the whole point of it all.Fast open play where people aren’t thumped out of the game.
    To encourage growrh and development of the sport because both rl and rugby union are losing people to soccer at a rapid rate of knots.
    What do you want daniel?
    110 kilogram scrum halves and stand off halves dominating the game??
    No wonder rugby league is in danger of becomimg more and more one dimmensional.
    No place for the small fellow to weave his particular brand of magic like say a pip bishop.
    1 to 17 with the same body shapes makes the sport of rl one dimmensional in my book.
    Get rid of inter change and go back to a 5 metre rule and competitive scrums will solve the problem.

    • druzik says:

      No its just the lack of Antipodean tactics, many of the European teams use the little guys still. It all comes to execution.

      Weight restriction are silly because it still does not take into account physiological development. An 85kg 14 y/o body is still less developed and still growing compared to say an 85kg 16 or 17 y/o body.

      Its physiology and biology 101.

      What I would do is have different tacjling techniques for age divisions, less of the physical tackling, have things like more tag and grab Rugby league at the lower age divisions. This also would forge the skills for the players to develop footwork and ways to get around defences better. Its harder to get around someone in tag than breaking through a tackle.

  14. C.T.SANDERS says:

    What’s does LU stand for daniel?

  15. C.T.SANDERS says:

    And lets get the record straight parraeels/nrl that i am not a pw clone.
    I have poured plenty of money into rugby league over the years and go and ask bud lisle and vinny weir or even jim doyle.
    Unlike pw,i don’t write under a nome de plume.My name is chris sanders and what’s yours?
    No wonder you aussies always play in yellow.
    Pull your head out of the sand like ya mate deleted pom.

  16. Interested Observer says:

    C.T,you said, “There could be 4 or 5 separate competitions in america and it wouldn’t effect rl development in that country at all in the long term.”

    That is rubbish, anything like that would hurt the game. The approch to developing the game in the USA has been done differently to other countries and it has worked, so far. Splitting RL into a number of competitions would damage it, unless they were divisions or conferences within the same league. They can’t be separate competitions.

    Now that there are 2 comps for 2011 (if they both go ahead)this will be a strain and a challenge in a number of areas including sponsorship,player allegiances, funding, International recognition, national team selection and the list goes on an on. The other real issue is how this latest development is going to impact on the proposed expansion teams and the difficult sitauation they have been placed in for 2011.

    To say that RL development would not be effected by multiple separate comps is wishful thinking.

  17. Chris Sanders says:

    So has the split in America killed the game off there Interested Observer?
    I think not because there seems to be more and more teams being formed all over the place.
    A snow ball effect I say and soon an avalanche once they strike gold with a huge tv deal.

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