Sydney Roosters CEO Joe Kelly is joining forces with the USA Rugby League (USARL) as an independent director, alongside former Roosters and Eels CEO Bernie Gurr. Their appointment is part of a move to bolster rugby league's presence in the United States, a project also supported by the NRL through recent initiatives including John Vellis's appointment as General Manager for US Expansion.

Kelly, who remains with the Roosters,  believes his experience can help link the NRL and USARL to grow the sport in America.

“It is an incredible privilege to join the USARL Board. The US rugby league market has huge potential, and I hope to help bridge connections between the NRL and USARL to develop the game,” Kelly stated.

The Roosters have already started tapping into American talent, signing US Rugby 7s star Liz Tafuna for their NRLW team. Roosters chairman Nick Politis sees Kelly's new position as an opportunity to scout more American players for the future.

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Kelly has a rich background in sports management, with roles at various sports clubs including the Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles and even Chelsea Football Club.

IRL chair Troy Grant praised the governance reform and the NRL's efforts in the US, highlighting the appointments of Kelly and Gurr as key to ensuring a prosperous future for rugby league in America.

“The USARL is now poised for success, ready to expand rugby league's footprint in the US,” Grant remakred.

Gurr is also enthusiastic about his new role.

“I'm excited to help grow rugby league in the US. The recent governance changes put us in a strong position to make a real impact,” Gurr shared.

USARL directors Matt Goschnick and Miranda Barnard believe that the inclusion of Gurr and Kelly on the board will provide the organisation with a solid foundation for achieving its growth objectives.

The USARL is looking to make rugby league a prominent sport in the United States, leveraging their experience and connections with the NRL to propel the game forward.