The multipurpose room at Glen Taylor Elementary School was filled with excited and loud students, erasing nearly any hopes of a casual conversation.
Al Caravelli, though, calmly and effortlessly autographed one item after another for the kids and somehow spent five minutes answering a reporter's questions as if surrounded by nothing but peaceful silence.
Caravelli, who spends most of his time away from his startup software company's New York office so he can coach the U.S. sevens rugby team, is used to handling more than one task at a time.
But his job(s) recently became easier.
Because sevens rugby -- a more condensed and speedier version of the traditional game -- will become an Olympic sport for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Caravelli and his players moved into a full-time training center three weeks ago in Chula Vista, Calif.
"It's essential for us to compete against the top eight teams," said Shalom Suniula, a U.S. team regular since 2009. "The more time we spend together, the more we play together, we'll achieve a lot more together on the field."
The Eagles, the nickname for the U.S. team, have plenty of catching up to do with the rest of the world.
They enter the USA Sevens tournament today at Sam Boyd Stadium 12th in the Sevens World Series standings. The Americans went 0-5 and were shut out three times in last weekend's tournament at New Zealand.
Part of that was because they put in some new strategies to boost their defense, and the Eagles need more than one tournament to adjust.
"It's long-term planning," Caravelli said.
This has been a long-term building process for the U.S., which finished 12th in the standings last season. At last year's Las Vegas tournament, an injury-depleted U.S. team dropped into the fourth rung of competition after falling out of the main draw.
Caravelli wants to win now, but knows it's about the big picture, and that's where the move to Chula Vista is crucial. No longer will the Americans have to travel from all over the country for a quick set of practices before jetting off to Dubai, Hong Kong or some other far-flung place.
Caravelli noticed the difference in the first practices shortly after moving into the facility south of San Diego.
"The first week was definitely a challenge because they had never trained every single day," Caravelli said. "Their bodies just weren't used to it, so they were pretty sore. But as a teacher, it's the only way we can compete on the circuit because all the other teams are putting in professionals.
"We feel with the resources the USOC has and the dedication of our athletes -- not to take anything away from our competitors -- but with U.S. know-how, it's going to be a huge boost for us. It probably won't be overnight, but we will definitely start seeing the successes toward the end of this season and next season."
A combination of donations from the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Rugby and the team's sponsors established the Eagles in their new nest. The original plan was to set up such a site following this summer's Olympics in London, but USA Rugby impressed upon the USOC the importance of moving up the calendar to better catch up.
"All the other teams are together throughout the year," said Peter Tiberio, a three-time All-American at Arizona. "It's what we need if we want to improve."
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.