Leeds Rhinos are set to welcome two young American players into their preseason training camp in Florida.
Terence Williams and Joe Eichner are two players of considerable promise, who have impressed observers with their displays in domestic American rugby league recently.
Both players are still students, and will be with the Rhinos for a week. They should both feature for the USARL Pioneers select which will face Leeds in a friendly game in Jacksonville on Sunday December 11.
Williams plays for Leeds’ American sister club Atlanta Rhinos, while Eichner stars for Florida’s Jacksonville Axemen.
Williams moved across to rugby league, after being spotted playing rugby union for Georgia Southern University by USARL director Spinner Howland.
“After the game I went to Terrance and handed him a flyer about a rugby league team coming to Atlanta and hoped he would consider attending camp,” said Howland.
“He showed up in great shape, took a serious approach and was eager to learn from the coaching staff. He made the starting team from day one.”
Williams has played for the Pioneers before, against the New Zealand Police Blue Thunder team in August.
Eichner is another union convert, who was playing the 15-man code with the University of North Florida, before deciding to try league.
“These two guys are young, strong and proven they can improve each time they are exposed to the next level,” said Drew Slover, Axemen General Manger.
“They are going to be in camp with some of the best players in the World. Guys who have won World Club Championships, played in World Cups, and reached the absolute top of what our sport has to offer.
“They are also going to be exposed to a coaching staff that is one of the best in the world. This is the type of thing that moves our players, and therefore the game forward in the USA.
“Leeds needs to be congratulated on a selfless approach that advances the sport of rugby league in a nation where the game is developing.”
Howland is also delighted that Leeds are making the trip across the Atlantic, and contributing the development of the game in a country which has huge potential for rugby league.
“The fact that the Leeds Rhinos, one of the best known teams in the world, are willing to give two USA Rugby League players this opportunity speaks volumes about their desire to see Rugby League grow on a global scale,” he added.
“This is the fourth visit to the USA for Leeds and every time they come they not only increase the profile of the sport in the USA, but they have always offered help in development from players to administration ideas.”