Continuing to build structure and foundation for the USA Rugby National Teams and High Performance Pathways, USA Rugby today announced the appointment of Brandon Sparks as Head of Women’s High Performance, a role responsible for oversight and development of the Women’s XVs and Sevens programs.
From the Women’s Senior National Teams to Junior National Teams and player pathway talent identification, the addition of Sparks brings increased expertise and resources to an ongoing development plan for women’s rugby in the United States. With long-term goals expected to enrich the Eagles platform alongside collegiate and women’s professional rugby, Sparks and the renewed USA Rugby High Performance department look forward to positive progress as the LA2028 Olympics and Rugby World Cup 2033 shine bright ahead.
Sparks said of the new role, “I’m excited to work with the entire American rugby community to develop and build programs that will create momentum as we approach the Olympics and Rugby World Cups. Rugby, especially women's rugby, can be a staple in our country’s sporting culture and I’m excited to be in a position to work with great people to accomplish that.”
Serving in rugby across all levels of the game, Sparks comes to USA Rugby having spent the last four years as General Manager of the Utah Warriors in Major League Rugby. With experience in coaching and administrative roles, Brandon has held leadership positions for multiple programs including the Legacy Rugby Academy, University of Michigan and Berkeley All-Blues of the Women’s Premier League. With the Warriors, Sparks led the club to an MLR leader in minutes played by domestic players in 2023, alongside eight pathway players called up to USA National and Junior National Team camps and 11 players promoted from the pathway to active MLR rosters. Sparks’ success in player development and organized pathways will help scale the rise of talent through USA Women’s High Performance.
Sparks added on first priorities and goals going forward, “The desired outcome is for the United States and USA Rugby to have an articulated and globally recognized development program that contributes to the Eagles being a perennial competitor in any international competition by 2028. This is a big challenge, as we will need to focus both on the present and the future. The present challenge is creating solutions for the two in-demand resources of time and money for our programs. The future challenge is we need to create solutions for a sustainable player, coach, and referee development.”
Sparks’ extensive and immediate understanding of the American rugby landscape will see him hit the ground running on a full-time basis as part of new General Manager of High Performance Tamara Sheppard’s team. Sparks has a broad leadership resume in the multi-faceted world of program development, having Coached the USA Women’s U23 7s, led fundraising initiatives and worked exclusively in USA Eagles talent identification through Atavus Rugby.
General Manager of High Performance, Tamara Sheppard added on the addition of Sparks, “We’re thrilled to have Brandon on board with USA Rugby. His direct experience in both high performance development and the USA Rugby system is immediately applicable and a tremendous value to our pathway forward with the Women’s game. While there were many great candidates with great pedigree, Brandon’s focus on organization and driving performance standards was unmistakable. With the Women’s XVs and Sevens looking forward to more test matches and SVNS series stops than ever before, we’re in a great place to work together and tackle an exciting 2024 and beyond.”