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United States of America
This page is a quick snapshot of the status of Australian Football in the USA. For further information, browse our news items or use the search facility. If you wish to contact football officials from the country, please search our site for links to their leagues or clubs, including in our Atlas. If unsuccessful, we can normally assist with putting people in touch.
Approx population (2009): 308 million
National side: Revolution (men), Freedom (women)
Governing body: USAFL
Primary contact / link: United States AFL
WFN Census (2004): 38 senior clubs, 855 adult players, 40 juniors
WFN World Ranking (2008): 8th
History: The United States Australian Football League was conceived in 1996 following a game between Cincinnati and Louisville, in a barn where the post match drinks were held. The USAFL (also known as USFooty) was formed in 1997 to govern the code in the country. Since coordinating the first National Championships the league has functioned as a national amateur Australian rules football representative league. The National Championships are awarded each year to a host city that bids for the event, with the number of competing sides growing steadily. In 2009 there were four men’s divisions and one women’s division.
The USAFL has also used “Metro Footy”, a scaled down version of the game for American-sized fields with fewer players. Many US Footy clubs are fed by several Metro Footy sides and selected players represent at the Nationals. Metro Footy has also enabled the USAFL to stage exhibition matches before or during Arena Football League games and before or during half time of MLS soccer games. There has been some introduction of the game to US colleges with some uptake but this is a vast area of potential growth for the game in the future if it can find a way into colleges across the country.
USAFL is responsible for the co-ordination of the men's National Team, the “Revolution”. The team plays in International Cup and exhibition games against other countries. Revolution players are selected from the best US-born players from the club teams across the country.
With close proximity to Canada, the Revolution participate in the annual 49th Parallel Cup against Canada. The Revolution competed in the 2002 IC finishing 5th out of 11 countries and in the 2005 IC finishing 3rd out of 10 countries. In 2008 they finished 7th out of 16 countries.
The USAFL has Women's Footy, Junior Development, Coaching Development and Umpire Development programs. US Footy Kids is US Footy's equivalent of the successful AFL Auskick program and part of the USAFL's junior development program. Women’s footy is growing rapidly in number with their main competition so far being at the US National Championships. Internationally they are represented by the US Freedom who toured Australia in 2009 and played a number of exhibition matches across the country.
In the past few years close ties with Canadian clubs have developed with some of these teams appearing at the US Nationals (including Vancouver winning the tournament's top division in 2008).
Outlook (from 2009): Overall the competition in the country is strong and should continue to grow. While the growth of numbers in the game has significantly slowed in the past few years in the men’s game, the women’s continues to grow and junior programs will receive a boost from the potential to be involved in the World Team participating at the Australian Unde 16 championships. Colleges also remain the big growth potential if resources can be directed intelligently to this area. Internationally the Revolution seem to be losing touch with the top nations of PNG, NZ and Ireland and will be planning on how to reverse this trend, though surging junior programs in PNG, NZ and South Africa will ensure the bar is being lifted ever higher.
Other points of interest: The Denver Bulldogs are the most successful team in the USAFL having won seven National Championships. Shae McNamara, although not from within the USAFL program, is causing interest as the only American on an AFL list, picked up by Collingwood at the end of 2009.
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 23 2010 @ 05:19 PM ACDT|Hits: 3,059