Premier Sevens to Expand in 2023: Northern California One of Four New Teams Added
The PR7s have been going for two years now with four teams, the Loggerheads, Experts, Headliners and Loonies. The Loonies were unofficially partly a Canadian side but now have been given a geographic area of north central USA and renamed the Northern Loonies. The Loggerheads are presented as Southern California and renamed SoCal Loggerheads, the Experts show as central USA and renamed Rocky Mountain Experts and the Headliners as southeast USA and renamed Southern Headliners. The new teams are New York Locals, Texas Team and two unnamed teams from Western Pennsylvania and Northern California.
The Northern California team may have some interest from BC this year due to its geographical proximity. They have a contest going until December 28th to name the new franchise, the winners get 4 VIP tickets to one of the tournaments.
In 2022 there were three tournaments held in July. The schedule for 2023 has yet to be released.
The Loonies have had Canadian coaches on both the men’s and women’s side with Robin MacDowell and Sean White being involved. There have been some notable Canadian players as well in the league, Brock Gallagher, Noah Bain, Thomas Isherwood on the men’s side, to name a few and Temi Ogunjumi and Delaney Aikens on the women’s side. The league site keeps player stats and Temi Ogunjumi shows up in a few for the 2022 season, top 10 in tries scored, in tackles made, and line breaks. Second on the 2022 season tackle stat was local player Denise Roy.
from USA Rugby
Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s), North Americas top tier womens and mens rugby sevens competition, today announced a significant expansion and new competitive format for its 2023 season. The transformation will double the number of franchises that competed last summer and explicitly connect each franchise to a specific region or city for the first time.
The fan response to PR7s has been off the charts, said Owen Scannell, CEO of Premier Rugby Sevens. We wanted to give our fans the chance to have a professional team of their own and place teams into cities and markets. Our franchises will build localized fandom, engage with the local communities involved with and adjacent to rugby, and provide pathway opportunities for athletes.
Eight total franchises will each feature a mens and a womens team who will compete in their respective competitions. The top teams from each conference will qualify for the 2023 Championship tournament. Two brand-new expansion franchises will be added in Northern California and Western Pennsylvania. As part of the conference play, select franchises will host a home tournament within their market.
All franchises are currently owned and operated under a fully centralized model. One franchise is licensed, and others are negotiating with additional third-party licensees. The franchises and conference breakdown are as follows:
New York Locals | @localspr7s
Southern Headliners | @headlinerspr7s
Texas Team | @teampr7s
Western Pennsylvania name to be determined
Northern Loonies | @looniespr7s
SoCal Loggerheads | @loggerheadspr7s
Rocky Mountain Experts | @expertspr7s
Northern California name to be determined?
Fans can submit franchise names for Western Pennsylvania and Northern California at PRSevens.com/contest.
In addition to hosting tournaments, each franchise will run localized community outreach, including youth clinics, rugby discovery sessions, and PR7s Open Trials to search for talent in their region. At Open Trials, franchises will evaluate male and female athletes to compete for an opportunity to make a roster alongside Olympians and national team players. PR7s is sanctioned by USA Rugby, which recognizes PR7s as the highest level of domestic seven-a-side rugby. The new league offers pathways for players to have other opportunities to play internationally.
The 2023 PR7s season will consist of 40 games, starting with conference-play tournaments and culminating in a championship weekend. The league will announce its event schedule shortly after the New Year.
The PR7s 2022 season included over 30 matches through tournaments at the MLS stadiums in San Jose, Washington, D.C., and Austin. The Southern Headliners took home the first United Championship, led by Team USA Olympic co-captain Abby Gustaitis for the Headliners women and U.S. national team player Adam Channel on the mens side. The Headliners also took home the Kathy Flores Cup for womens top prize, while the SoCal Loggerheads earned the A. Jon Prusmack Cup as the mens champion, led by U.S. Olympians Martin Iosefo and Matai Leuta.
About Premier Rugby Sevens
Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) is a groundbreaking professional sports league in North America that debuted in 2021. With a focus on accessibility and entertaining content for fans, the league showcases the electrifying sport of rugby sevens through a touring format in cities across the United States. PR7s is the first sports organization of its kind, with mens and womens teams competing under one umbrella with equal pay. To learn more about Premier Rugby Sevens, go to PRSevens.com and follow the league on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.