Rise of the USA Young Hawks: Debuting at the 2024 European Rugby League U19s Championship

In a landmark moment for the sport, the USA’s Young Hawks will make their first appearance at the prestigious 2024 European Rugby League U19s Championship, taking on the defending champions England and other top European teams in Belgrade, Serbia. This debut marks a significant milestone in the USA’s rugby league journey, as the country establishes a clear pathway for its junior participants to represent their nation on the international stage.

Rugby League’s Rising Stars: USA’s Young Hawks to Debut at 2024 European U19s Championship

In a significant milestone for the sport, the USA’s Young Hawks will make their debut appearance at the 2024 European Rugby League U19s Championship, set to take place in Belgrade, Serbia from July 14-20. This prestigious tournament will feature six nations, including defending champions England, who secured the title in 2022 in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. Joining the fray will be France, the inaugural winners in 2018 when the competition was last held in Belgrade, as well as Scotland, Ukraine, and the host nation, Serbia.

The Opening Round and Semifinals

The opening round will see Serbia face Ukraine, while Scotland takes on the debutants, the USA. The winners of these matches will advance to the semi-finals, where they will meet England and France. The losing semi-finalists will then play each other in a grading game.

The Significance for the USA

Matt Goschnick, the newly appointed USARL chair, expressed his enthusiasm for this landmark event, acknowledging the “relentless dedication, passion, and support of our volunteers” that enabled the establishment of the USA Youth National Programme. “Sending the inaugural USA U19 Youth team to the European Championship is a pivotal milestone and an investment in our sport’s long-term future,” he said, highlighting the opportunities and pathways this initiative provides for the country’s young rugby league participants.

The selection process for the touring team drew significant interest, with over 50 players participating in tryouts. Goschnick noted that this marks the first time in the USA’s rugby league history that a clear pathway has been established for junior participants to represent their country, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to creating opportunities for those involved in the sport.

Additional Championship Details

In addition to the main tournament, the event will also feature a match between England and a Serbia U21 team, providing valuable international exposure for the host nation. Furthermore, European Rugby League will conduct a week-long camp for an eight-person match officials squad, representing various nations, and lead training courses for coaches and match officials in the region, thanks to the support of the Belgrade municipality.

David Butler, the ERL general manager, expressed his gratitude to the Serbian Rugby League Federation for organizing a “comprehensive package” for the 2024 European Rugby League U19s Championship, and his delight in welcoming the USA to their first youth competition. “We’re very pleased to be welcoming the USA to their first youth competition and are glad that despite all the challenges they face, Ukraine remain committed to the tournament,” he said.

This tournament represents a significant step forward for the growth and development of rugby league, particularly in the USA, as the Young Hawks embark on their debut at the European stage, vying for glory and valuable international experience.

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