LATIN Heat Rugby League (Australia) head coach, Argentinian Gabriel Keegan, has announced he will step down after two years in the role due to family health matters.
Keegan departs with the blessings of the organisation and will remain a firm supporter of the GYG Heat after guiding the team to the two biggest wins in its history.
Keegan’s first international game saw a 40-6 win against Portugal, while his last game in charge was a 54-16 victory against the Thailand Stars.
“The real hallmark of Gabe however was his selflessness,” GYG Latin Heat president Robert Burgin said.
“He has hosted players in his family home, driven players from Sydney to Queensland so they could participate in games, and co-ordinated and attended more training sessions than anybody else in our history.
“Gabe came into the organisation when we were still relatively young and short on playing numbers, but he has helped build great depth and also a solid support team.
“Every person in the Latin Heat understands why he has made the decision to step aside and holds only the best wishes for him and his family.”
The GYG Heat will now cast the net wide for a new coach to head its Australian operation, where there are more than 100 identified players of Latino birth or direct heritage.
With a wave of talented youngsters now graduating from the GYG Heat youth program, the organisation will look for a coach with experience at semi-professional or junior representative levels.
Applications or enquiries for the role may be made to Robert@sambatimes.com
In further coaching news, English-based Juan Jasso has been invited to co-ordinate the Latin Heat (North America) squad at the USARL Nines on May 21 near Philadelphia.
Jasso is a former US armed forces servant with a Level 2 Rugby League coaching pedigree and a background in teaching and physical fitness.
In the first tournament contested by the GYG Heat’s North American chapter, the team hopes to draw upon the 55 million Latinos living in the USA, the 122 million in Mexico and the 500,000+ in Canada.
The biggest upcoming event in Australia is on June 11 at Newtown, Sydney, where Chile will play El Salvador, Peru will face Uruguay, and Colombia and Ecuador go head-to-head.
For those matches in Sydney the individual nations will have their own coaches.
Latin American Rugby League combines players with heritages in 24 nations and provides a pathway to international representation for the 700 million Latinos globally.
The efforts of Latin Heat Rugby League are supported by Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taquerias, S.H.I.E.L.D Security, Tattoo Tears,OneBigSwitch.com.au, Jani-King Cleaning, SeriousAboutRL.com, Rugby League Team Manager 2015 computer game, Lichtnauer and Associates Accountants, Cabramatta Ink and Majestic Property Maintenance, and Darkside Studio Photography.