As Australian Football has developed in the United States over the past ten years, a number of clubs have begun using 9-a-side 'Metro Footy' to overcome the hurdles posed by a lack of large enough grounds, small initial squad sizes and the distances between cities.
Now, a new initiative is underway to take 9-a-side footy to the next level with the creation of 'Major League Aussie Rules', a plan which may see metro sides from across the USA competing against each other.
We previously reported a planned match between teams representing the MAAFL from the US and OAFL in Canada. The Canadians were planning on using the match to give valuable team practice to much of the Team Canada Northwind squad. Unfortunately the match has been cancelled due to the MAAFL unable to gather sufficient numbers willing to travel.
Although slightly off the topic of international Aussie Rules, the AFL's plans for expanding the game in Australia play a role in their global vision. Overall the AFL has downplayed its international ambitions, making it clear that the states of New South Wales and Queensland are its priorities in the short to medium term. As such it is very much relevant to international footy that Australian Rules continues its successful push into those states, ultimately generating more resources, and freeing up existing ones, for global development.
After much speculation as to whether the British Bulldogs would be heading to Melbourne for the 2nd International Cup, it is with great pleasure we can announce that the AFL this morning confirmed the Brits will make it. It's believed three countries were struggling, most likely to ensure the necessary finances were in place, but 11 nations will now attend, with only Denmark withdrawing as previously announced.
The Mojave Greens are sending two US Army soldiers down to Melbourne to meet with their Australian counterparts in hopes of building sister club relationships, future match dates, and a possible exchange program with potential matches in 2006. The following story is from the US Army's Chris Angle.
Initial plans for the United States Western Regionals round 2 to be staged by Seattle and Vancouver in Vancouver (Canada) have been cancelled. It appeared that two clubs had pulled out and several others were not keen. Combined with Seattle not fielding a team in the first round in Denver, and the scheduling close to the Revolution departure for the International Cup, and the decision was made to look closer to home for most of the clubs.
Despite the desert environs of Arizona on the US western side of the United States, the fifth Arizona AFL season has being punctuated by more than a few rain delays. After major re-scheduling, the minor premier, Arizona State University (ASU) Sun Devils, took on the Chandler Outlaws in the grand final. The following report is courtesy of the AZAFL's Darren Toohey, winner of the leading goalkicker award.
The Spanish national team, the Bulls, have announced their official Jumper design for the coming International Cup and released the video clip for their fundraiser themesong 'Toros de España', available for download from the Madrid Bears homepage.
In bad news for the International Cup, one of the leading countries in Denmark has withdrawn from the tournament with just one month notice. The decision leaves the biggest event in international footy with unbalanced pools and potentially a draw in disarray.
The recent World Footy Census clearly demonstrates that the big two countries in developing Aussie Rules outside of Australia are Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. This relates to their large junior programs, with thousands of children participating. Recent AFL South Africa announcements suggest that country remains on track to join those countries in the next few years.
In potentially big news for the international development of Australian Rules football, the AFL have revealed preliminary plans to allow AFL clubs to take on young international players as apprentices. The initial discussion is being treated as a background issue by mainstream Australian media, with the high profile issue the AFL's plans to have a similar scheme in Sydney.