17-18 COACHING STAFF

DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM

LAURA MILLER

Laura is a lifelong athlete who grew up in South Bend, IN. Laura has 15 years experience in rugby and was fortunate enough to compete as  part of the USA Eagles Women’s National Rugby Team from 2011-2016. She comes to AYR with a wealth of youth coaching experience having worked previously with the Glendale Raptors Rugby Academy. Laura is currently one of the Assistant Coaches with the Life University women’s rugby program.

CORE PROGRAM COACHES

Paul Raio

Director of Coaching/U14 Head Coach

Like most American kids, Paul played football as far as he could take it and was eventually exposed to Rugby at Longwood University. Following graduation, while in the US Army, Paul played for Frankfurt am Main, which competed in both the military and German men’s leagues from 1989-1993. After a stint at Fort Benning, Paul played for a couple of seasons on the Atlanta Renegades in 1995-1996 and some Sevens, then hung it up as a player.

Paul is a USA Rugby Level 300 Certified Coach and has been Coaching at AYR for 6 years.

It has been fantastic to rediscover rugby and more importantly to share it with his son and the other boys in the club. There is no other sport like Rugby in the world and no better place for young men to have fun, be included in all aspects of the game, get a great run in, form that bond that only exists in rugby and learn what sportsmanship and teamwork really mean. If kids are taught to play the right way at an early age, there is no limit to where rugby can take them.

Warren Mullis

Assistant Director of Coaching/U12 Head Coach

Warren was part of the earliest attempts of youth rugby in Georgia winning the first ever High School State Championship in 2005 with the East Cobb Trojans. He then played in college rugby at Kennesaw State and UGA respectively. After graduating from UGA he played for High Country Rugby Club before getting involved with AYR.  Warren is also very involved in the larger rugby universe — keeping a blog, Twitter account and podcast all devoted to rugby.  He has recently announced USA Rugby events like the College 7’s National Championship.  Look for his updates on AYR’s Facebook page.

Reid Tankersley

U8 Head Coach 

Reid began playing rugby in 2001 with Auburn University RFC (after 4 years of scholarship football). He moved to Atlanta in 2003 and spent the next 6 years training with the Atlanta Renegades RFC. He also played on several All-South select teams and went on tours to Dublin, Ireland and lovely Bermuda. Reid finished out his career as a player/coach with High Country RFC and officially retired from rugby in 2012. He lives in the East Atlanta Village with his patient wife, Adrienne, and three children, Aubrey – 10, Abram – 8, and Nola – 4. He enjoys watching rugby at the pub, training jiu-jitsu, and heartfelt backrubs.

Andres Dargent

U8 Coach

Andres was born in soccer-crazy Peru; ungifted (as he is) with the soccer virtues of finesse, subtlety, and speed, the young Andres found himself usually sidelined at game time. Then, in 1986, he discovered rugby, a sport with a position for everyone, even him: He became a passionate fan. It was the initial days of the sport in Peru, so, other than playing, Andres was involved in the creation of the first Peruvian club and then the Peruvian Rugby Union, refereed matches, and became the coach of the first female rugby team in the country. He did play, mind you, and managed to be a Tumi (Peruvian national-team player) in both 15s and 7s formats. In 2001 he moved to the USA, and in 2003 he arrived to Atlanta, where he promptly joined High Country RFC and proceeded to age more or less gracefully.  He may have retired in 2016. Andres now lives in Echo Lake with his wife Cristina and daughters Anna (7) and Emma (5). Since his rugby retirement, Andres has gained much weight, read many book, and spent many hours convincing himself that he has indeed retired.

Mac Hodge

U10 Head Coach

 

Bio to come!

Anthony Forbes-Roberts

U12 Coach 

Anton played rugby as a youth, his modest efforts as a back helping his Carson Graham Eagles win Vancouver’s district championships two consecutive years. And, Anton’s wife Tori played in the front row at McGill University and now their two boys Alex (12) and Dylan (10) play for AYR. The Forbes-Roberts family loves the overall athleticism and confidence the game instills.

President of AYR and of Rugby Georgia, Anton is USA Rugby 200-level certified. He is also a long-time youth soccer coach with InterAtlanta FC and Boy Scouts of America leader.

 

Adrian Treverton

U14 Coach 

At University Adrian played for the Royal College of Science 1st XV before joining his local team in Milton Keynes in 1996. He played second row (lock) for Milton Keynes 1st XV for eight years before joining their social sides and ultimately the Old Boys. Upon moving to the USA in 2011 he joined the Atlanta Renegades and still lines up with the A team.

David Spencer

U14 Coach 

David began his rugby career at with the Aho Rugby Club at Appalachian State University and continued his college play at the University of South Carolina. Playing both flanker and center, he competed with men’s clubs for roughly two decades, including High Country RFC, Jackson Hole RFC, Newport News RFC, and Vienna Celtic RFC. He found AYR in its first year of operation shortly after moving back to Atlanta and is looking forward to his third year as a coach for the squad.

Duncan Van Schalkwyk

U14 Life/U Coach

Duncan was born and raised in South Africa and moved to the US in 2008. Duncan’s successful rugby High School career in Charlotte, NC caught the eyes of Life University. Duncan is about to start his fourth year at Life University. Duncan has represented the USA U20 team 4 times. He also has represented the All American 7’s and 15’s team.

Todd Bradshaw

U16 Coach

Todd is returning for his fourth season as a AYR Coach. Todd played rugby for almost 20 years starting at the junior high school level in San Jose California. He continued playing through high school winning the conference championship his senior year of high school. He represented his college and the San Jose Seahawks before relocating to Atlanta and playing for Atlanta Old White.

Neethling Gericke

U16 Life/ U Coach

Neethling Gericke, born in Cape Town South Africa 07/31/1990, has played rugby as long as he can remember. He represented the SA schools team as a tighthead and played two internationals against the French U18’s. 2009 he was selected to join the Western Province Rugby Institute where his rugby abilities were crafted as a hooker, because of a shoulder injury, and mainly because he got to small for propping. After the institute, he started studying BA Humanities at Stellenbosch University where he also played for the University (Maties Rugby Club) from 2010-2015. During that years he represented the first team for 3 years in the Varsity Cup and Captained the second team for two years. While studying and playing rugby, he coached the u/15 E and F teams of Paul Roos Gimnasium High School in 2014, and in 2015 he coached the U/19 C and D teams of Boland Agricultural High School. After finishing his BA and Teaching Degree, Neethling moves to Marietta in April 2016, to join Life University as a Psychology Undergrad student, a Running Eagles rugby player and coach.

Shane Azzi

U16 Head Coach

Shane is a native of Australia with over 22 years of playing experience spanning junior clubs all the way to representative levels. Shane has transitioned to coaching rugby and has been involved coaching teams in the USA, Europe, and Australia.

Tom MacQuillan

U16 Coach 

Tom MacQuillan, originally from Ireland and too old to remember his rugby playing days, moved to Atlanta in June 2015 with his wife Sandra and son Jack. Prior to moving to Atlanta Tom and family had lived in Brussels where he had helped coach the U9, U11 and U14 rugby teams for the British School of Brussels. A keen all round sportsman and enthusiast Tom likes nothing better than watching Ireland play particularly when it ends a 111 year wait.

Alex Macdonald

U19 Life U Coach

Alexander MacDonald was born in Hilton Head Island South Carolina, where he grew up a baseball and basketball player. Upon discovering his natural abilities as an American Football Player, he attended The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. His plans changed, however, and soon after his arrival at The Citadel he tried out for the Rugby Club. Alex was a 4 year Southern Conference All-Conference Selection for XVIs and a 2 year selection for the Spring Sevens. His senior year, Alex led the Bulldogs to a Conference Championship and a shot at the College 7s National Championship. In the summer of 2016 he was named 1st Team DII Sevens All Americans and 2nd Team XVI All American, as well as being recruited to play for the Life University Running Eagles where he is today.

Alexander has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration focused in Professional Sales and Marketing from The Citadel, and is working towards earning his Master’s Degree in Positive Psychology-Coaching from Life University.

AYR COMMUNITY PROGRAM COACHES

Rebecca Martin

Director of Community Programs

Rebecca is a lifelong athlete who has spent her adult life serving children and playing rugby. ‘Bex’ fell in love with rugby in college at Appalachian State University where she earned a BS in Criminology and Social Control.  She has 13 years of experience working with children including her 6 years as a Sports and Camp Director at the YMCA in Charlotte, NC.

Rebecca has been serving children and their families for the last 5 years as a Behavior Modification Specialist for at risk youth. She is passionate about spreading the love of rugby through AYR’s afterschool program.

Coach Martin has played rugby since 2004, most recently, in the Women’s Premiere League for the Atlanta Harlequins. Rebecca has coached high school, college, and All-Star rugby for the past 9 years including her position as head coach of the University of Georgia Women’s Rugby team for the last 5 years.  She has been pivotal in the development of rugby in the south; serving as an officer in the Southern Independent Rugby Conference for the past 3 years and now as the Commissioner of the League.

Kelsey Gersherhorn

COH Coach

Kelsey Gershenhorn is a licensed therapist specializing in youths for the last 3 years.  She attended the University of Georgia for undergraduate and graduate school, making her a double dawg! She graduated in 2012 with a Master’s of Education in Professional Counseling and started work as a child and adolescent therapist in and around the Atlanta area. She often says, “Children are a light in this world and always know how to bring a smile to my face!”

Kelsey has been playing rugby since she was in 8th grade. She played in high school in Canada, as well as in Brussels, Belgium. She played extensively at the University of Georgia Women’s rugby team.  She currently plays for the Atlanta Harlequins on their Women’s Premiere League squad. She has played many positions throughout her career, including lock, hooker and flanker. Playing rugby is a huge part of her life, challenging her in more ways than she can count, giving her a group of strong teammates to rely on and always providing a fun and active outlet.

Philip Laurence 

COH Coach

Philip was born in Canada to his Trinidian parents. He was raised in the United States but has lived and traveled abroad much of his life. Coupled with a succesfuly track back ground, Philip has been playing rugby for many different programs. He attended Black Rock College in Dublin, Ireland and current USA Flyhalf, AJ McGinty, was his first coach. He attended Florida Atlantic before being recruited to join the Life University squad. He is a current Life University student Athlete playing mostly scrum half, fullback and wing for the Men’s Division 2 team.

Philip attends Life University perusing a degree in exercise science. He wants to become a coach and help grown the game of rugby in the United States. He hopes to make a positive impact on future young ruggers.   He is often called “Lion” due to his long mane like hair.

Angela Eschbach 

COH Coach

Angela Eschbach is a private behavioral therapist for children with autism throughout the Atlanta area. She graduated from UGA with undergraduate in Human Development and Family Science and continued to be a Double Dawg in Special Education Adapted Curriculum with emphasis on autism.

She found her love for rugby in high school, at Brookwood High School. She just started it to “try something new” and it turned into a love for the sport and community. She continued my love for rugby in college starting at Kennesaw State and UGA for the rest of her undergraduate and graduate degree. She have played almost every position on the field expect for scrum half. Her favorite positions are hooker and flanker. She continues to foster her love for the sport with the Atlanta Harlequins Division 2 team. She is so excited to be able to give back to rugby!

N’Keiah Butler

N’Keiah, a recent graduate of Life University in Exercise Science, came to Georgia from Lakewood, WA where she attended New Manchester High School. She is now a member of the Air Force Reserve and is enrolled in the Masters of Sport Health Science program at Life U.

Emilie Cunnington

Emilie began her rugby career as a high school student in Broomfield, CO. She is a Freshman at Life University where is an Exercise Science major and competes in the back line for the Running Eagles Women’s Rugby Team. Emilie plans to study Physical Therapy after graduation from Life U.

Kim Semiglia  

Kim, a Senior at Life University where she has been Co-Captain for the last three years, is an Exercise Science student interested in studying Physical Therapy. Kim hails from Miami, FL.

Gracie Martinez

Gracie, a Senior at Life University, is an integral part of the Running Eagles Forward pack. She came to Georgia from Bronx, NY where she attended Milton Hershey High School. Gracie is a Computer Science Major we well as a member of the National Honor Society Sigma Beta Delta.

 

Alice Plant

Alice is a seasoned rugby player, coach, and manager who began her career when attending Colorado College. She is an experienced coach with Atlanta Youth Rugby previously coaching in the Boys and Girls Club after school program. When she isn’t coaching or playing, she works in the non-profit sector for Teach for America Metro Atlanta.

 

Amelie Poulin

Amelie, a sophomore at Life University, is originally from Lansdale, PA. She competes as a lock for the Life U Women’s Rugby Program and is an Exercise Science Major.