Philadelphia, Pa – This past Labor Day weekend Chicago hosted the Maccabi USA Rugby tryouts for some 58 Jewish athletes from all over the United States ahead of the 2013 Maccabiah Games.

The three-day camp was overseen by a world-class Management and Coaching staff that included: Jeff Simon (Co-Chairman), Josh Kaplan (Co-Chairman), Shawn Lipman (Head Coach), Greg Schor Haskin (Coach), Buzzy Rudzinsky (Team Manager), Barry Seidel (Manager), Norm Mottram (Coaching Development), Marc Stcherbina (Coaching Development), Jason Horowitz (Trials Coaching Assistant), Ben Wells (Trials Coaching Assistant), Aaron Manheimer (Fitness and Conditioning), David Danker (Fitness and Conditioning) and Sarah Sall (Recovery Specialist).

The training camp – held in Northbrook – began on the evening of Friday August 31st with an overview of the Maccabi USA Rugby history as well as identifying the short- and long-term objectives of the program. On Saturday morning the squad were timed completing a 40-meter sprint and a fitness test, giving the selectors an indication of how the various players matched up with each other. This was followed by some base skill evaluation, with the afternoon session including game situation strategies and drill work split between the forwards and backline players. Sunday and Monday consisted of several hard fought scrimmage matches with all 58 players getting a real opportunity for squad selection.

“We were extremely impressed with the skill level at this camp, with the players making it very difficult for us to narrow down the team ahead of the final trial in February. Our goal this weekend was to select the Elite Performance Squad ahead of Israel, as well as re-establish Maccabi USA Rugby as one of the top clubs in America” said Head Coach Shawn Lipman, who captained the Maccabi USA Rugby side that last won the gold medal for the USA in 1997.

The Elite Performance Squad – comprised of 41 players – will be placed on a rigorous strength and conditioning program over the next 5 months, including on field improvement metrics as well as working on psychological and mental preparation.

The Maccabi USA Rugby Elite Performance Squad:
Zachary Abbott, Daniel Auerbach, Ross Biestman, Joseph Blum, Jamie Bouloux, Jared Braun, Jarett Brotz, Joel Cohen, Ben Cohen, David Cohen, Seth Cohen, Mathew Crawford, Aaron Davis, Ryan Diehl, Elliot Herzog, Elan Hoffman, Taylor Howden, Devin Ibanez, Joji Kurosaki, Max Levine, Ben Lieb, Grant Lyon, Tanner Mohr, James Murray, Jeremy Nash, Marcus Respes, Alan Roniss, Michael Rudzinsky, Jon Schaeffer, Kenneth Schulman, Bart Seemen, Robbie Shaw, Ross Silverman, Josh Slater, Dallen Stanford, Zachary Strom, Zach Test, Roman Wilson, Jasper Wilson, Ilya Wortman, Samuel Zivot.

In February 2013 most of these players will assemble at an Olympic-level training facility. They will take on local opposition in a series of scrimmages to help the selectors with their final squad selection. USA 7s Eagle standout Zack Test is one of the players who will be unavailable to attend the camp due to his national team commitment, while several others are based overseas.

Those selected in February will represent the USA at the 19th Maccabiah Games in Israel from 18th – 30th July 2013. The Games are the world’s third largest international sporting event, held every four years and sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. The first Maccabiah Games took place in 1932 and the most recent Games, the 18th Maccabiah, took place in 2009 featuring 7,500 athletes from 51 countries participating in 31 different sports.

The USA Rugby team has competed continuously at the Maccabiah Games since 1985 and has medaled in all seven:
’85 – bronze; ’89 – bronze; ’93 – silver; ’97 – gold; ’01 – silver; ’05 – silver; and ’09 – bronze.

For more information regarding the Maccabi USA Rugby Team, please contact Head Coach Shawn Lipman at or visit

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