A KEIGHLEY club is set to play a part in building rugby league in the USA after agreeing an innovative Transatlantic link-up.

Keighley Albion Juniors has signed up for an affiliation with the California Rugby League Youth to try to grow the sport at grassroots level in North America. It is the first of its kind between a UK community club and the USA.

The deal will see Albion offer help and advice to the California Rugby League Youth's coaching team, sharing best practice as they try to grow the sport.

It is hoped the tie-in will also including exchanging ideas on player recruitment methods and coaching advice for all age groups.

Albion will also promote California Youth's with regular features on its website and social media and giving them exposure in the UK. This will also be reversed, with Albion receiving exposure across the pond.

The link-up was made possible via a Keighley connection to California.

One of Albion's former players, Ady Cooney, has helped lead the resurgence of the Los Angeles Mongrels club within California Rugby League, as part of the coaching staff and backroom team.

It also builds on the ever-growing relationship between English rugby league and North America. Ottawa are set to join Keighley Cougars in Betfred League One from the 2021 season, while New York-based team may join the fray.

Rob Spencer, Keighley Albion committee member, said: "Rugby league international expansion, has been highly publicised over recent years, with the Toronto Wolfpack’s presence in the British domestic game, alongside bids from New York and Ottawa.

"The potential is massive. It works well for both clubs.

"Having spoken to Ady, it made perfect sense for the junior clubs to link up and help support each other’s growth.

"Keighley Albion was established over 70 years ago, and we are now recognised as the biggest club in the Yorkshire Junior League.

"They are starting from scratch. It naturally made sense for the two clubs to link together.

"With both our heritage and our current team of fantastic selfless volunteers, coaches and team managers running all our age groups, we feel we are in a strong position to assist with their club grow.

"One of our key core values at Albion is innovation, and the Transatlantic affiliation between a community club and a club in the USA is the first of its kind.

"The partnership makes perfect sense: we have a strong grassroots sport in the UK with some exceptional community clubs in the game, and we also can learn a lot from the American sporting culture, particularly their exceptional promotional work.

"We are looking forward to working closely with Ady and the California Rugby League - helping the global expansion of our great sport."

California Rugby League are scheduled to play their first senior game on December 7.

Meanwhile, Keighley Albion are recruiting for a men’s open age first team coach.

The committee is focused on having a strong first team squad next season, and is open to discussing expenses and payment to the right person. Call Dean on 07802 328390 for more information.