Collingwood to hold open tryouts in Denver, USA
Friday, January 28 2005 @ 07:57 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Aaron Richard
Tryouts will be run by James Waddell, an Australian citizen now based in Dever, Colorado. Waddell is an official representative of the Collingwood FC and an individual with an impressive sporting record in his own right; as an athlete he has an extensive background in both Aussie Rules and professional Baseball, representing Australia in baseball in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics and scouting for the New York Mets since 1996.
The Collingwood Football Club is the first club to run a series of official tryouts with the aim to find the FIRST American athlete to play professional Australian Rules Football (Aussie Rules) in the AFL. Our first tryout will be in Denver on April 8th & 9th, 2005. Registration will take place prior to an information meeting at Embassy Suites on Friday night April 8th from 7-9pm. Special guest ex-AFL player Brendon Feddema will give a speech about what it takes to be a player and James from Collingwood FC explaining the process.
Saturday from 11am-3pm will see tryouts take place at a indoor facility and hopeful recruits will be put through a draft day type session. All high schools and colleges in the state of Colorado have been contacted, meaning there is a potential market of 25,000 young athletes who will hear about the trials.
It's not the first time Americans have been trialled by an AFL club (seven foot-tall Tom Bender trained with Richmond in the 1970s, Dwayne Amstrong played reserves footy for Essendon in the mid-90s and Essendon train one player from the USAFL each year on a scholarship program), but it is the first time that a club has taken the search directly to the USA.
What does Collingwood hope to get from this? Potential overseas recruiting by AFL clubs has been a recurring theme in the Australian media, with Essendon trialling Ethiopian-born Goaner Tutlan and currently training Christopher Carroll from the Mid American AFL's St Louis Blues. If the Magpies can pick up a talented American athlete and mold him into an AFL star, the media potential would be enormous.
What would Collingwood want to test most at the tryouts? Derek Hines, National Recruiting Manager for Collingwood, replied "...What is relevant, obviously the more physical attributes, the identification of an athlete who may have the attributes to play the game".
The Denver Bulldogs are proud to host the event, building on their club's reputation as on-field powerhouse in the US Aussie Rules scene. The side has won the last three USAFL national club championships, and are primed for another very strong year. For those athletes who don't make the cut, but still like the look of the game, club president Tom Ellis is hopeful that some may join with the Bulldogs for their Denver Metro League season, or possibly in future even come across to Australia to play for a suburban or country club. For more information, contact the Bulldogs at their homepage: www.denverbulldogs.com