“It takes a group of people willing to sacrifice for the greater good and not individual success to win the World Cup, and I can say the USA have that now, and we are coming for the final in 2014.”
The road to becoming an elite athlete, especially a USA Eagle, is no cakewalk. It’s not a decision taken lightly by anyone who chooses to go for that goal. There are sacrifices to be made, obstacles to overcome, and life changes to implement. But if chosen to don the red, white, and blue and represent your nation on the world’s stage, the rewards are beyond measure.
Nobody knows that better than past Eagles as well as current Eagles and hopefuls like Amanda Street. (But call her Street – her mom doesn’t even call her Amanda.) Chosen to play at the 2013 Las Vegas 7s tournament on the Stars and Stripes team in addition to the USA Eagles team in the recent test matches against France, Street now has her eyes set on even more opportunities: The upcoming Nations Cup in Colorado as well as the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
American Sin Bin sat down with Street for a bit to get her take on the road to becoming an Eagle.
Meet Amanda Street:
Hometown: Princeton, West Virginia
Currently Living In: Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
Brothers/Sisters: Only child, but I do have 3 step sisters and 1 step brother
Professional Occupation: Health Education Specialist at WakeMed Health & Hospitals and CrossFit Coach at CrossFit Invoke
College/University: Shepherd Univ. (undergrad); Meredith College (graduate degree)
Current Rugby Club: D.C. Furies
Playing Rugby Since: 2009, age 21
Previous Rugby Clubs & Teams: Raleigh Venom, MARFU Select Side (15s & 7s), USA 15s Pool Player, USA 7s Pool Player
Positions: Wing, Outside Center, Fullback (15s); Hooker, Wing (7s)
Officer Positions: Previously Match Secretary & Captain for Raleigh Venom
At what point did you decide that being on the Eagle track is what you wanted to do?
After two years of playing rugby, I watched the Eagles play at Las Vegas 7's and I said to my teammates: “I am going to play for the Eagles. I am going to work my hardest for the next year and see what I can do.” Exactly one year from me saying that I was on the field this February in Las Vegas, playing with the Stars and Stripes. That was my first international match wearing the red, white, and blue.
What helped make the decision for you to go for it?
I told a handful of people my idea to play for the Eagles and when each person not only told me that I could do it, but also offered to help me get there, I knew I could make a run at this. My skills coach, Steve Brush, and I started meeting weekly for sessions and my skills were improving fast and my confidence began to grow.
In preparation for Eagles Training Camps (ETC), what kind of fitness and skills regimen did you put yourself through?
Before I made the Eagles squad, I started doing CrossFit and had the help from a strength and conditioning coach to improve my Olympic weightlifting. I also started creating obstacle courses and I would run with my mouth guard in and sometimes carrying and kicking the rugby ball. I also started playing as much rugby as possible and would show up for practice an hour to two hours early to work on my skills and run sprints before everyone else would get there.
Once I started getting invites to the camps, I was given workouts from the USA Rugby staff and have followed those since; however, I still like to add in my own flare here and there. I also take a CrossFit class once a week for the fun and extra push from the community there.
Where did you start before the ETCs and what has been your progress thus far (fitness and skills wise)?
Well, my fitness has continued to get better and I am stronger now than I have ever been, but I am still trying to gain strength and power while increasing speed. This will always be the goal for me when I go to push myself in my training.
My skills have increased immensely. When I started, I could not drop kick at all, I could barely pass with my left hand, I was getting blown off rucks, and I felt like the only weapon I had was speed. Now, I am kicking for points and kickoffs, my left hand pass is better than my right hand, I feel confident I will be lower and stronger than my opposite and will not be counter rucked off the ball, and speed has become just one weapon in my game. I am much more likely to rely on evasive running, setting up teammates, and using my foot as a first option and pull out the speed card only if I have to.
What is your nutrition regimen like? (It’s totally cool to say ice cream, too. I hear Megan Rapinoe and Brittany Griner both have a sweet tooth.)
I eat a very clean diet, mainly because I have a gluten and lactose intolerance that I found I had before I even started training. I eat lots of vegetables throughout the day, and my favorites are kale, sweet potato, and avocado. Each morning I wake up and have two eggs, two pieces of bacon, fruit, and coffee to start the day. I eat every two hours, which usually gets me to 6–7 medium-size meals in one day. However, I have the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I know. Many nights I have dessert, which is usually coconut ice cream or double chocolate gluten free brownies, sometimes together.
What’s it like working with the National Team coaches and players?
It's like being around a group of people that completely understand you! It really facilitates learning and improvement and there is a sense of security out there. You know you are surrounded by the best players in the U.S. and you feel like you can accomplish any task. You also feel a large amount of pride, for your country, and for rugby, and you are playing for each other. It is the absolute best feeling you can have as an athlete.
What did you think of your international experience playing at Las Vegas 7's and the test series versus France. How was that for you?
The two experiences were very different, mainly because in Vegas we were playing 7's and we were preparing for a multitude of threats in each team. It was also a whirlwind as we prepared with a short camp in Chula Vista and then went straight to Vegas to take on the teams, some of which we knew we would see in pool play.
France was an extreme focus on one team, and we knew the threats and what we would have to do to be successful. I would be playing defense thinking, "What will the French do here?" I would have the ball thinking, "Where are the French weaknesses?" We played against each other in Colorado for one week really going at it as if we were already in the France test series. We had about one week at home before we headed out to California for two weeks to play the series and it was a marathon. Vegas was the sprint and France was the marathon, both of which have been the most amazing experiences of my rugby career thus far.
Are you excited about the upcoming Nations Cup in Colorado? When can you expect to know if you’re selected for those matches?
I am extremely excited about Nations Cup. As a team we were hitting stride during the France series and the progress is outstanding. I am most excited about seeing the continued increase in our performance! We have an idea of what the team is going to look like personnel wise and USA Rugby should shortly release that to the public. I will keep my lips sealed until then. The important thing to know as a player is that you may not be picked for every match or tour and that is all right. It takes a group of people willing to sacrifice for the greater good and not individual success to win the World Cup, and I can say the USA have that now, and we are coming for the final in 2014.
There’s a little glimpse into the beginnings of a USA Eagle going full speed toward rugby greatness. We wish Street all the best and are crossing our fingers for her for the Nations Cup and beyond.