ALTHOUGH it may never compete with national sports ice hockey and lacrosse, Australian Football is one of the fastest growing sports in Canada. And a dedicated Australian is helping drive the growth.
With multiple leagues across the country's provinces, thousands of experienced and new players alike – including women – are becoming involved in the game.
The AFL Ontario League has clubs based in and around Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa. Founded in 1989, the league started with 10 men's clubs, and in 2010 introduced a women's competition. This year, division one of the men's competition has nine clubs, while the women's competition has expanded to five clubs with the addition of the Ottawa Swans.
Australian Football has again captured the attention of Canadian media in this excellent and enlightening story from Grace Kennedy at the North Delta Reporter in Vancouver. The work of Mike McFarlane and his dedicated team at North Delta has long been known within Australian footy circles, but more and more their work is capturing the imagination of an ever-increasing public.
“The local league is perhaps the largest in North America, and holding strong.”
From a distance, the group of kids kicking a ball back and forth on the Gray Elementary field look like they are practicing soccer.
Walk a little closer, and you notice the ball is definitely not a soccer ball. It could be a rugby ball, with its oval shape and bright colour. Look across the field, and another group of athletes are in a star formation, practicing drills. They could be practicing football, passing the ball back and forth in a criss-cross formation.
Ben Guthrie from the www.afl.co.au website reports that Collingwood’s American success story, Mason Cox, believes that there is more talent on the way from the USA provided the AFL stays the course and keeps investing in that growth. The following article looks at his claims and a look at what has already occurred with American footballers.
THE AFL's decision to put its Draft Combine in the US on hold this year and instead prioritise Ireland in its search for international talent is a mistake, according to American Pie Mason Cox.
Cox, the tallest player to complete athletic testing in AFL conditions at the 2014 US Combine, has been one of the success stories of the League's decision to invest time and resources into the American pathway.
The 211cm big man will play the 26th game of his career against Brisbane at the Gabba on Sunday, a remarkable achievement given the former Oklahoma State University basketballer had not picked up a Sherrin before the testing day in Los Angeles in 2014.
Christian Chynoweth has retired on top with a USAFL Division 1 National Championship. The Golden Gate Roos could not be happier with Chyna's contribution and will be eternally grateful for his commitment to our program.
The Roos are excited to announced that Jake Ryan, former Gold Coast Suns Academy Coach, has been appointed as the new Head Coach of the Division 1 team and will lead the way as they attempt to go back-to-back in October at the 2018 USAFL National Championships in Racine, Wisconsin.
When he suited up for St. Kilda in 2015 Jason Holmes became the first American-born and raised player to play AFL footy since the league’s beginning in 1897.
Jason Holmes is a Chicago, Illinois (USA) native who played U.S. college basketball at Mississippi Valley State (Itta Bena, Miss.) and at Morehead State (Morehead, Kentucky). St. Kilda took a chance on him after a strong showing at the April 2013 AFL combine in Los Angeles, California.
Spending 2014 and most of 2015 at Sandringham, Holmes played the ruck in St. Kilda’s final three games of season 2015 (debut - rd 21 vs Geelong, a 97-97 draw) and in the last two matches in 2016. Having to either be delisted or elevated, Holmes signed a one-year extension through 2017 after running through his three-year rookie deal.
The Edmonton Australian Football Club in conjunction with AFL Canada is introducing Australian Football into the Canadian University Championships. These games actually go under the banner of KIN, or Kinesiology Interscholastic Conference Games and are held annually across Canada..
Currently there are two university football clubs in Canada, Concordia and the University Of Calgary. They will be the backbone in introducing football to the other groups. There will be 500 kinesiology university students playing footy according to AFL Canada president Lachlan http://Griffiths.It will be an indoor co-ed touch version of footy. It is hoped that this taste of footbaoll will encourage players to return more serious at the next KIN scheduled for next fall.
Journalist Tom Zillich from the Surrey Now – Leader newspaper in Vancouver, British Columbia has written a wonderful little story about the work of Mike McFarlane and his great team at the North Delta juniors in Canada. His achievements to grow junior footy in a part of the world where the game is a long way from the most popular is nothing short of amazing.
Mike McFarlane would love to play the game known as “footy,” but he says he’s “way too old.
“Head tells me I can, body says no,” says the man who helps run the North Delta Junior Australian Football League, or NDJAFL.
Instead, McFarlane is keen to get kids sign up to play the game, which has been played in Canada since 1989 and in B.C. since 2001. The NDJAFL was formed in 2003 and has since grown from 28 young players to approximately 140.
Canadian National Football Championships are coming to Toronto aptly on Canada Day in a further attempt to improve the representative performance of Canadian teams. At the recent AFL Canada AGM it was noted that two new positions were added to the AFL Canada board specifically targeting men and women’s national player representation.
Canadian men’s football international performances can be viewed as either competitive against it’s bigger southern neighbor or as not having leveraged the most out of it’s competitive Toronto league, acknowledged as.the best outside of Australia.
The followng is an edited version of the AFL Canada 2018 president’s report by Lachlan Griffiths. As this an AGM report it is primarily looking back over the previous year’s events. I hope to interview Lachlan soon, looking forward about a new strategic plan which will be released shortly and some other details
Two bright young talents from the USAFL’s Los Angeles Dragons are taking their talents across the Pacific: both Gabriel Martin del Campo and Sam Murphy will be competing in local Aussie rules leagues in the 2018 season.
A member of the US Revolution squad, Martin del Campo (pictured left) primarily plays in the midfield or half-forward line and will be taking his talents to suburban Melbourne. Born and raised in Southern California, Martin del Campo leaves on January 19th and will play with the Black Rock Football Club, who compete in the Southern Football League’s Division 3. In addition to Aussie rules, Martin del Campo also played rugby union and soccer in his younger years. He is a physical and versatile player who excels on the disposals and clearances.