Contributed by: Troy Thompson
As the 2007 season starts to build up some momentum in the US, we take a look at what is going on with some of the clubs in the western half of the Nation - with the Denver Bulldogs playing exhibition games, the Arizona Hawks kicking off their inter-regional season as well as getting women's footy going, and movements in US Military footy in the Middle East and California.
In Denver the year again kicked off with a game at halftime of the Colorado Crush Arena Football Team in front of about 15,000 fans. The game once again being well received, they hope to have video up soon on their new website, which is up and running and looks great. And like most US footy clubs they honoured Anzac day in their own way with a game at the OZ Denver function (Old ANZAC Chamber of Commerce). Pictures available at OZDenver.com.
After losing their title to San Diego at the 2006 Nationals the Doggies will be looking to get back on top in 2007 with some new initiatives to spark the turnaround. Tom Ellis told us "Denver has started Aussie Ball - coed non contact footy. We have had over 45 out for both weeks and more coming out this Wednesday. It's been a huge shot in the arm for our club and we have started a monthly AFL and Pie night. We have had a great response and the word is really getting out".
The Doggies have further expanded their multimedia presence with a recent five minute segment on footy on Channel 9 and the production of an e-newsletter – the second edition out this week. Ellis told us that they have also secured the fields for the Western Regionals for July 14th and 15th.
Having completed their 2007 AZAFL with the Devils toppling the Dingos 11.9.75 to 8.20.68 in a match fought until the end to claim the Ashworth Cup, the best of the league come together to compete as the Arizona Hawks. They play their first scheduled match of 2007 at Doyle Park in La Jolla on Saturday, June 16th. The defending National Champion San Diego Lions will be hosting a weekend on their home soil. Match time is 3 PM with post-match festivities immediately following. Also in Arizona, Team RamRod defeated Team Motorboaters 3.4.22 to 2.5.17 to claim the women's inaugural championship.
The SCAFL season is not yet complete but their representative side the OC Bombers will have their first 18-a-side game of the year Saturday June 9, as they take on the Dallas Magpies. The game will be at Savanna High School in Anaheim and is scheduled to start at 3pm. Keen watchers of US Footy love these games between teams from different regions as it is often the only chance before the Nationals to try gauging relative strength of teams that do not meet during the year.
The SCAFL have one round to go the following weekend and as far as we can tell three teams OC Bombers, LA Swans and newcomers Beachside Sharks are all still in contention. The West LA team, the Beachside Sharks were formed this year and are comprised mostly of Americans and Aussies, but their team captain is from Denmark where he played footy for several years. They train at Virginia Ave Park in Santa Monica on Thursday evenings. Howarth, the club's founder is a former army medic who learned the game with the Mojave Greens. Now that he is no longer serving he has relocated to L.A. where he has obviously put together a competitive club, the Beachside Sharks. The club is interested in any new players, sponsors and is trying to organise some partnerships with Australian clubs.
News on the US Armed forces footy front has been a little quiet in recent times. The Mojave Greens had appeared to have somewhat disbanded, their team kit being worn in the Las Vegas metro league. Former Greens such as Jeremiah Cain and Adam Howarth are now involved in footy elsewhere with Las Vegas Gamblers and Beachside Sharks respectively. But the driving force in US Armed Forces Footy, David Payne reports that he has sent PFC Chase Brennen footy DVDs in Iraq and the USAFL has sent footys. PFC Brennen intends to bring Ft Bragg into the footy scene when the 2 Heavy Brigade Combat Team redeploys from Iraq this fall.
And Cain from the Gamblers will be sending the old Mojave Greens kit to the Ft Gordon Soldiers, under the charge of SSG Timothy 'Bones' Wells. They have been playing footy against the Aussies in Afghanistan. Bones says that "interest is high among the 3500 3RD ID Soldiers and that the US chain of command likes the game".
Additionally Payne is trying to coordinate the US Footy Kids program being introduced to up to 75000 kids living on US military bases. He is lobbying the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. to sponsor the program which will be supervised by Denis Ryan "and include around 40 Aus Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers stationed throughout the US to help run the programs".
World Footy News