In a match showcasing one of the most heavily modified forms of footy seen to date, the San Diego Lions defeated the Orange County Bombers in a curtain-raiser to the LA Avengers match at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles, on February 20th. The game was a big hit with fans and the Bombers have been invited back for more displays at Avengers games in future.
Continuing a series of Aussie Rules exhibition matches at US pro sports events, the Orange County Bombers will take on the San Diego Lions in an experimental exhibition match on February 20 during the halftime break of a Los Angeles Avengers (Arena Football League) match.
In an attempt to find the first American to play in the AFL, the Collingwood Football Club will hold open tryouts in early April in conjunction with USAFL powerhouse the Denver Bulldogs. The Collingwood Magpies, one of Australia's oldest, largest and most successful clubs, are actively searching for young men with athletic abilities to possibly draft from the USA.
The first USAFL game to be televised is eagerly awaited amongst the US footy fraternity. Initial details are just starting to come out. It seems that the first match to go to air will be the East-West All Star game to be held in Texas on April 30th 2005.
In a potentially major blow to spreading the game in the United States, FOX Sports World will not cover the AFL in 2005 or beyond, as it becomes FOX Soccer Channel. The Australian Football Association of North America (AFANA) report that the change should not affect coverage in Canada, and they are hopeful that the AFL can secure a deal with another US network.
In what is believed to be a first for Aussie Rules football in the US a British team, the Reading Kangaroos, are to play the Atlanta Kookaburras in Atlanta on April 9th 2005 for the Atlanta International Footy Challenge Cup.
Unfortunately the annual Arizona AFL Metro Footy World Invitational has had to be cancelled for 2005, with issues relating to field availability. But the good news for US footballers is that a new tournament has been announced - the Wild West Shootout, to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Confirmed starters are the Mojave Greens and Tucson Javelinas. The following is a press release from the organisers.
The Chicago Metro AFL will get a boost next year from the on- and off-field experience of Darren McCumber from QAFL club Labrador. In return, Chicago local Jeremy Morgan will take to the field for Labrador for season 2005.
Will the United States military be the next big area of growth for Australian Rules football? World Footy News conducted an email-based interview with some people who think it could be, and are actively leading the charge, with the first US Army side, the Mojave Greens.