Sharon Lau & Megan Doran
July 5th, 2019
Atlanta Harlequins Announce New WPL Coaching Team
The Atlanta Harlequins are excited to announce that Blake Bradford, Rosalind Chou and Andrew McNeil will be joining the club as the coaching team for the Women’s Premier League (WPL) squad for the 2019 season.
Blake Bradford hails from South Africa and came to the United States to earn Doctor of Chiropractic degree and continue his rugby career at Life University. After a successful stint as a front row player on the Life University Men's team, which won the USA Rugby Club National Championship, and finished runners-up in the Rugby Super League, Bradford opened a practice in Michigan. In 2014, Bradford returned to Life University to become coach of the men's team, while also serving as an associate at a chiropractic office in the Atlanta area. He has led the Men's Rugby Club to back-to-back USA Rugby National championships, in 2018 (D2) and 2019 (D1). He also serves as forward's coach for the Men's Collegiate All-American program, and has recently been named as an assistant to the Major League Rugby team, Rugby ATL. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the coaching team and will be working with the forwards focusing on scrums and lineouts.
Rosalind Chou began her coaching career in the Atlanta area at Georgia Tech as an assistant backs coach in 2012 and 7s head coach in 2013. In that time, the team made their first appearances in USA Rugby 15s playoffs in the Division 1 Round of 16 and debuted at both USA Rugby College 7s National Championship and the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC). During this time, three Georgia Tech players were honored as Junior or Collegiate All-Americans (Chi Chi Chukwueke, Lara Gartner, and Alex Schmid). Shortly after, Rosalind was named head coach of Life University Varsity Women’s Rugby team in January 2014 and assistant coach for the Women's Premier League Atlanta Harlequins in 2018. In January of 2017 she was honored at the USA Rugby National Development Summit as the 2016 Female Coach of the Year.
The Life University women have made the 15s final four every year since its inception. The team earned their first USA Rugby National 7s Rugby Championship and followed that up with the university’s first Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s title. In 2018, the Life women made their first trip to the USA Rugby D1 Elite National Championship match, finishing as runners-up and made a back-to-back appearance in 2019. The team has produced over 20 Junior and Collegiate All-Americans and 3 capped Women's National Team members in just 5 years. In addition to coaching at Life and the Atlanta Harlequins, Rosalind served on the 2018 Collegiate All-American staff, and has been the WPL East All-Star coach in 2018 and 2019.
Andrew McNeil is originally from Florida and is a former collegiate football player. He was a founding member of the Life University Men's undergraduate varsity rugby team taking part in both a 7s and 15s National championship for the Running Eagles. Andrew moved into coaching in 2014, with the fledgling women's program at Life, serving as an Assistant Coach from 2014-2019. In that time, the team won the 2016 USA Rugby 7s National Championship, and 2017 and 2018 Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s titles. In 15s, the team has made the final four each year, and he has successfully helped the team to two back-to-back Division 1 Elite National Championship final appearances.
# # # #
The (formerly known as) Southeast Harlequins Women’s Rugby Football Club came into being in 1984 as a select side for several teams scattered about the southeastern part of the country. The best players from these teams combined to play here in Atlanta.
As the popularity of Women’s Rugby in the south grew, the Southeast Harlequins became a team that truly represented Atlanta as well as this broader geographic region. In the spring of 1999, the team decided to honor this change in status with a change of name as well. We now proudly carry the name of our host city: The Atlanta Harlequins.
Dedicated to excellence, the Harlequins are striving to give national credibility to rugby in the South as well as right here in Atlanta. The Atlanta Harlequins currently field a WPL (Women’s Premier League) side, a Division I side, and social side and were the 2012 USA Rugby Women’s Division I National Champions.
# # # #