The United States Australian Football League’s (USAFL) National Tournament returns to Austin this weekend, October 19-20. The tournament is expected to attract more than 1,000 athletes from all over North America for the two-day event being held at Onion Creek Soccer Complex, south of downtown. This is the second time the tournament has been held in Austin with the first in 2011 which proved very popular and successful with the players, supporters and Texas locals.
“We are truly excited to be the host city once again for this fantastic event”, said Matthew Payne, Executive Director for the Austin Sports Commission, “we had such an amazing experience with the league and their members back in 2011, so were thrilled when we the USAFL decided to return”.
Both men and women will compete throughout the weekend, with four men’s and one women’s division – 39 teams in total. The Division One favorites are the New York Magpies and Calgary Kangaroos who both missed out on the division title last year after it was vacated when the Dallas Magpies were disqualified.
The up and coming Houston Lonestars will be playing for the first time up a division in Division Three with games scheduled for 12.00pm Saturday vs Kansas City; 5.00pm Saturday vs Portland and 10.00am Sunday vs San Diego. If they make it through to the Div 3 Final, it will be at 2.00pm Sunday. The Division One Final is at 4.00pm. An awards ceremony will follow directly after the conclusion of the Division One Final at the grounds and will recognize top players and teams from across the weekend.
The USAFL will welcome a number of special guests over the weekend from the Australian Football League (AFL). Nick Riewoldt, Captain of the Saint Kilda Saints, a professional AFL team based in Melbourne, Australia, will be in attendance on Sunday to present awards to the tournament champions. Nick is newly married to local Houstonian girl, Catherine Heard, so there is no doubt who he will be supporting this weekend!!
Additionally, three US Athletes who have all recently been drafted to professional AFL teams, will also be attending the event and interacting with participants. These three players were all drafted to the AFL via two talent combines held in Los Angeles in 2012 and 2013. Eric Wallace (2012), Patrick Mitchell and Jason Holmes (2013) have all been selected for their outstanding physical attributes as well as skills that the AFL hopes will make them stand out players at the top level in Australia. This is becoming a popular right of passage for young American athletes, particularly from basketball origins.
The Subiaco Football Club, from Perth in Western Australia are also visiting the US and will be attending the tournament, but not competing. The Club will be running a coaches clinic Friday and assisting at the event throughout the weekend. The team is being supported by Tourism Western Australia who, in 2014, will be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the cities of Perth and Houston long standing Sister City relationship. As well as the visit by Subiaco, the Honorable Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi from Perth Australia plans to visit Texas for the anniversary celebration.
For more information on this weekend’s event, please visit http://usafl.com/nationals/2013.