Philadelphia, PA, January 18 -The USA Maccabiah Rugby team is Co-Chaired by Josh Kaplan and Jeff Simon.  Kaplan is an alumnus of the 1997, 2001 & ’05 Rugby teams, winning a gold and two silver medals as an athlete. Simon is an alumnus of the 1989 and ’93 Rugby teams, earning a bronze and silver medal as an athlete and was the Head Coach of the 1997 gold medal USA Maccabiah Rugby team.

Shawn Lipman, head coach for the USA Maccabiah Rugby Team competing at the 19th World Maccabiah Games  in Israel in July, has been building a high level Rugby Team for the Games over the last year. He is focused on having the Team train at a professional level to prepare them for the very elite competition in Israel.

“Shawn has done an extraordinary job building an elite level USA Maccabiah Rugby program,” said Simon. “As a teammate and coach I have seen first-hand his leadership skills on the field and he is bringing that same leadership ability to his coaching and building an elite performance team and making the experience for the squad as professional as possible.”

“My goal is to have the Team train like Olympians so they are well prepared for the elite, international competition they will face in July,” Coach Lipman said. “One of the ways we will do this is to have the entire team train with the U.S. Navy Seals at their facility on Coronado Island, and we will prepare at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA as part of our final trials for the team, January 30 – February 3.”

As part of building an elite level team, the management team assembled lends itself to the professional approach of the team. The assistant coach is Greg Schor a former silver medal winner with the USA team at the 1993 Maccabiah Games and as a coach of the team at the 2009 Maccabiah Games. Team managers are David Rudzinsky, an alumnus of the 1989 bronze medal USA Maccabiah Rugby team and Barry Seidel, who competed for South Africa at the 1989 Maccabiah Games. The team’s strength and conditioning coordinator is David Danker, a certified fitness trainer. Additionally, Lipman has assembled a group of world-class consultants who are providing guidance on coaching best practices, recovery, sports psychology and muscle reactive therapy. All team members have and will incorporate the Insanity Fitness Program by Beachbody into their strength and conditioning program. Lipman has traveled to Australia to immerse himself with a professional rugby team, and will implement many of the cutting edge approaches to the USA Maccabiah team.

The USA Maccabiah Rugby team has a storied history at the Games and this year’s team will be represented by top international and national players including members of the USA Eagles National Team, All-Star Teams and Collegiate All-Americans. Lipman himself was an International with the USA Eagles, having played in the World Cup of Rugby, and the captain of the USA Maccabiah Team that won the gold in 1997.

After the trials, the team will be fully appointed with an additional 18 to 20 athletes being named to the Team.  Ten athletes have already been named to the team and include: Matthew Crawford, Collegiate All-American in 2011 and 2012; Joji Kurosaki, alumnus of the 2009 Maccabiah, Boston University and University of Oregon Rugby teams; Max Levine, two-time DII Collegiate National Champion, alumnus of the 2009 Maccabiah and Middlebury College Rugby Club Captain; James Murray, 2007 NYS Rugby Men’s College All-Stars – SUNY Cortland; Robert Shaw, Current U.S. National Team Eagle standout and playing professionally in England; Ross Silverman, 2010 U.S. Rugby Federation High Performance Grant Recipient; Joshua Slater, alumnus of the 2009 Maccabiah; Dallen Stanford, USA Eagles; Kevin Swiryn, USA Eagles, American Rugby Union Player and leading scorer and points for the U.S. during the ’08-09 IRB Sevens World Series; Roman Wilson who plays 8 man for the Oklahoma City Crusaders; and Zach Test, professional Rugby player with the U.S. National Team, alumnus of the 2009 Maccabiah, IRB Sevens World Series in 2010-11, and member of the U.S. Team that took the bronze at the 2011 Pan American Games.

“We will have additional professional athletes trying out at the trials beginning January 30th and once the team has been fully appointed we will have a Maccabi USA Team with professional depth and experience,” Lipman said. “We fully intend to reclaim the gold at this summer’s Games.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Shawn Lipman at usamaccabiahrugby@gmail.com.

About the organization:

Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs.  The organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, the Pan American Maccabi Games and the Maccabi competitions in Europe and Australia, as well as a sponsor of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America.  As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities.  It strives to provide Jewish athletes the world over the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings.  MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish Continuity, Zionism and Excellence in Sport.  Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.