U20 Elite Development Program

Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club

Next generation performance.

American rugby is entering a new stage of professional athletics and increasing ability to compete on the international stage. With a new professional league set to launch in 2018, the need to develop young rugby players into high-performance athletes is greater than ever.

Introducing the Glendale Raptors U20 Elite Development Program (EDP), the next generation of performance rugby development in the United States. The program serves to fill a key gap in the current pathway to high-performance American rugby and gives young athletes the skills needed to compete at the highest levels, both on and off the field.

The sport of rugby and the skills learned while pursuing excellence on the rugby pitch provide powerful lessons and tools for achieving greatness in education and work outside of the grass, the stands, and the tackle bags. The EDP provides an excellent opportunity for young rugby players to pursue the next step of their careers, while preparing for the next step of their lives outside of sport. In order to give our athletes the foundation they need to succeed outside of the U20 program, we strive to help them connect to and sustain great opportunities in higher education and work outside of rugby.

The EDP combines technical, tactical, physical, psychological, nutritional and holistic skills and development to develop well-rounded athletes coached by a staff of experienced and knowledgeable coaches, administration, and medical professionals.

Now recruiting.

We are currently recruiting for the 2017-2018 season, as well as looking for talent early in their careers. If you, or the athlete in your family, are interested in becoming a Glendale Raptor, fill out and submit the prospect form.

You can also contact Dave Synnott, U20 Head Coach, or Jackson Thom, U20 Assistant Coach and Senior Coordinator, to schedule a tour of Infinity Park and its facilities and learn more about the Elite Development Program.

Dave Synnott
Phone: 720.422.0458
Email: dave.synnott@glendalerugby.com

Jackson Thom
Phone: 303.999.7965
Email: jackson@glendalerugby.com

Player prospect form.

Fill out all fields in the form below and hit the submit button to signal your interest in becoming a part of the Glendale U20 Elite Development Program. Our staff will reach out to you with further details.

Name:*
Date of Birth:*
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Primary Position:*
Other Position(s) Played:
Height (feet and inches):*
Weight (pounds):*
Phone Number:*
E-mail:*
Parent Name:*
Parent Phone Number:
Parent E-mail:*
Current State:*
Current Country:*
Current School/Club Team:*
High School Graduation Year:*
Please list any other sports and activities in which you currently participate:
Please indicate your plans after graduation from high school:
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Maximize your potential.

The Elite Development Program asses it’s athletes in four major categories:

  • Fundamental skills
  • Fitness
  • Tactical and game awareness
  • Personal character and attitude


Fitness, fundamentals, and decision-making are coached in all aspects of training to create a solid foundation of rugby skills and intelligence, while developing the mental skills and fortitude to self-manage and lead in live competition.

Every EDP athlete should expect fundamental and advanced training in these core competencies of the sport of rugby:

  • Catch and pass
  • Contact ad evasion
  • Position-specific skills
  • Positioning and game awareness
  • Speed, footwork, and agility
  • Strength and conditioning

Alongside the core competencies, athletes will receive education and training around the following mental and organizational skills:

  • Leadership
  • Creativity
  • Fundamental and team communication
  • Individual self-management
  • Mental toughness

Welcome to RugbyTown USA.

Infinity Park, home of the Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club, provides world-class facilities for training, recovery, and competition. Athletes have access to a full-time medical staff, high-performance weight and cardio facility, a rugby-specific training park, and a rugby-specific stadium with room for 4,000 fans.

Infinity Park has previously hosted international competitions and teams like the Churchill Cup or the England National Rugby Team in their preparation for the 2015 World Cup, while continuing to host the biggest competitions in American rugby like the Men’s and Women’s Club and Collegiate Championships. As such, our staff and facilities set the precedent for professional rugby operations in the United States.

U20 Coaches & Program Staff

  • Dave Synnott, Head Coach and Eagle Impact Rugby Academy (EIRA) Liaison
  • Jackson Thom, Assistant Coach, Manager, and Senior Coordinator
  • Niku Kruger, Assistant Coach and former U20 USA Eagle
  • Luke Gross, Men’s Pathway Development Manager, and former High Performance Player Development Manager for USA Rugby
  • Mark Bullock, Director of Rugby and former U19 USA Rugby Eagles national team Head Coach
  • Dave Williams, Head Coach of the Glendale Raptors Elite team and former Strength and Conditioning Coach for USA Rugby Eagles national team
  • Nico Rithner, Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Katie Wurst MA CC-AASP, Mental Skills Coach and Director of Performance for First15 Sport Performance
  • Amy Valenta, Medical Director and Head Physiotherapist for USA Rugby
  • And more…