Next year’s USAFL Nationals in San Diego, California will have an added twist, with the league inviting women’s teams from Australia to fly over and compete in a special All-Australian division.
Australian based clubs are being asked to submit an expression of interest in fielding either an 18 or 10-player side at the tournament, to take on other Australian clubs or teams made up wholly of Australian born/based footballers.
|The San Francisco Iron Maidens battle the Sacramento Suns
during the 2016 USAFL Nationals in Sarasota, Florida.
Image: Sebastien Di Maulo Photographie
The invitation goes beyond just playing, with the USAFL also asking how interested Australian clubs can help with running the tournament (umpires, scoreboard attendants, etc), assisting in player development and the possibility of hosting any USAFL players that want to come over and play a season in Australia.
Next year’s tournament is expected to the biggest yet, after this year’s edition hosted four men’s divisions and two women’s divisions, on five fields, accommodating more than 1,000 players and officials and earning the tagline of the ‘biggest footy tournament in the world’.
Additionally, all 15 women’s matches at this year’s tournament were live streamed with commentary.
North America is no stranger to Australian women’s footy sides playing on their shores, with Victoria’s VU Western Spurs (then VU St Albans) touring with a 33-member squad in September of 2014.
Speaking to Girls Play Footy at this year’s Nationals in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, USAFL President Denis Ryan said they initially came up with the All-Australian division concept for men’s sides, but are keen to host Australian women’s teams if enough interest is generated.
“We want to include an Aussie division, so we’re looking for Australian teams on their end of season football trips,” Denis said.
“We’re [mainly] putting it out to men’s teams because there’s an expectation there’s more men’s teams out there, but we’d certainly love to have a division of Australian women’s teams coming over as well.
“We’ll find a way to accommodate it if they want to come [to California].”
The 2017 USAFL Nationals in San Diego will run from Friday, October 20 to Sunday, October 22, which would provide Australians team with a unique end-of-season trip and plenty of time to raise the funds for the flights and accommodation.