An almost totally new team of 12 starters announced Thursday by USA Rugby will try to improve on that fifth-place finish from Rio and earn the first Olympic rugby sevens medal for Team USA. Only Lauren Doyle and Alev Kelter return from the Rio squad, and the U.S. will also have a new head coach in Chris Brown, hired in October 2018. Under Brown, the U.S. had its best season ever in 2018-19, winning five events in the World Rugby Sevens Series and finishing the year ranked second in the world. The team finished fifth in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.
“As a team, we have a great deal of strike power across the park,” Brown said in a news release. “But looking at the increasing progress and competitiveness of the women’s game, we won’t be anywhere near winning a gold medal if we play as individuals as opposed to working as a group. That said, we have enough big match experience from the last three years to fully trust and believe that when we focus on the task at hand, play with discipline and fight as a collective, we are extremely hard to handle and we will be exactly where we need to complete our mission.”
Here's a closer look at the 12 starters hoping to make an impact in Tokyo.