In the USA, with so much sport to choose from, Aussie rules seems to get a little lost but the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) has steadily grown thanks to the increasing number of antipodeans living in the US and the dedication and perseverance of the USAFL, AFL and Aussie footy teams popping up all around the country. There are now close to 10,000 members which include Aussies, Americans, Poms, Kiwis, Irish, Canadians and anyone else that wants to pull on the boots.
The first ever USAFL game was played in 1996 between Louisville and Cincinnati at Louisville, Kentucky. The league was founded the following year in 1997 at the first National Championships were in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1997. The league also works to foster womens and junior programs across the US and works closely with the Australian Football League (AFL) in developing these programs and finding American athletes that could potentially cross the pond and play in the big league.
The Houston Lonestars have been in the USAFL since 2010. They play 8-10 games a season against cities primarily in the southern US region such as Austin, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta & Jacksonville. Initially formed in 2008 just to have a kick around and create a football social group for Aussies in Houston, the Lonestars are making some great progress in being competitive against some of the more established teams in the league. This year will be their first time competing as a stand alone ‘Houston Lonestars’ team with a talented group of local Americans and expat Irish & Aussies(young & old). Pearland’s Kevin Waden has been a stand out talent to emerge and recently was selected in the US National team – USA Revolution. Kevin is also keen to try his hand in an Australia next year. If you’re keen to pull on the boots or join the social club see Houston Footy for more details.
~ The Official 2012 Houston AFL Grandfinal Party will be screened live Friday September 28th at the Firkin & Phoenix Pub on Westheimer Rd, Montrose. The game starts at 10.30pm but get there from 7.00pm onwards to mingle with fellow antipodeans (and curious Americans) for an Aussie BBQ from 7-9pm. There will be Aussie beer, wine, pies, sausage rolls to munch on after 9pm and through the night there will be raffles for meat trays, Aussie goodie baskets, Handball comp and lots more fun. All welcome!! VIP tables are available via Houston Footy for purchase for the best seats in the house – this ends up being a standing room only event! Proceeds from the night will go towards helping the Houston Lonestars get to USAFL Nationals in Ohio this October.
~ The 16th Annual United States Australian Football League championships are taking place in Mason, Ohio 13th & 14th October. It is the largest Australian Football tournament in the world. There are up to 35 Teams and 1000 players from all over the States taking part in over 60 games in four Men’s divisions, one Women’s division and junior clinics. It will also include development programs and seminars. Some of the favorites to take out the Division 1 title include the New York Magpies, San Diego Lions, Denver Bulldogs and Calgary Kangaroos. Next year’s National Championships will be held closer to home in Austin, Texas!