USA Freedom Staff

Leigh BarnesLeigh Barnes - Head Coach

Leigh is originally from Launceston, Tasmania, however also lived, played and coached football in Brisbane for 15 years.  He is now living in the east San Francisco Bay area with his son Kai and works as a Materials and Research Engineer. Leigh is the founding President of the Golden Gate Australian Football League, 2005 Division II champions, and has played over 400 games of football in his lifetime. He represented Tasmania three times, Queensland once, and kicked over a hundred goals in a season twice during his career.

Dale WilliamsDale Williams - Assistant Coach (Back Line)

Dale or "Diesel" is originally from rural Victoria and played football for 15 seasons; for Daylesford in the Ballarat Football League, and Hepburn in the Central Highlands Football League. Dale moved to St Paul, Minnesota in 1998, is married with two children and works as a Senior Engineer for an aerospace manufacturing company. In 2005 he became one of the founding members of the Minnesota Freeze, and served that club as President, Assistant Coach, and player throughout two of its National Championships. Dale retired from playing in 2011 at the age of 46, but continued with his passion for footy as Head Coach of the Freeze Women's team; one of the newest and largest developing teams in USAFL women's football.

John IronmongerJohn Ironmonger - Assistant Coach (Midfield)

John is a former Australian Rules footballer who played with the Sydney Swans and Fitzroy Lions in the VFL/AFL. He made his debut at East Perth in the Western Australian Football League as a 200cm Ruckman in 1980 and won a Sandover Medal for his efforts in the 1983 season. The following year he was recruited by Sydney where he spent three seasons before joining Fitzroy. Injuries restricted his on-field time for Fitzroy but he managed 43 games to bring his league tally to 88 games. He also represented Western Australia at interstate football on four occasions during his career and New South Wales once.

John now lives just outside Denver, Colorado, but while living in California in the late 1990's he helped found the Santa Cruz Roos, now known as the Golden Gate Australian Football League.

Troy AnthonyTroy Anthony - Assistant Coach (Forward Line)

Troy is a native of Victoria. He has been playing and coaching at the Golden Gate Roos in San Francisco for a number of years.

Troy has been a part of the USA Freedom coaching staff since 2011 and as a long time member of the Carlton Blues Football Club was able to arrange for the mens and womens US teams to train at The Blues training facility, Princes Park, during the 2011 International Cup in Melbourne.

Tara SalmonTara Salmon - Assistant Coach

Tara grew up in the Australian sporting town of Wagga Wagga and was an avid AFL and Sydney Swans supporter. It wasn’t until she moved to San Francisco 2010 that she joined the Golden Gate AFL league and started playing footy through the establishment of the San Francisco Iron Maidens women’s team in 2012.

After a stint playing with both the local and USA Liberty squads, Tara turned her attention to coaching and has helped take the Iron Maidens to three USAFL Championship games as Assistant Coach – raising the cup as National winners in 2016.

Tara focused on player selection and development for the Freedom and Liberty teams for the 2014 IC in Melbourne and has stepped into USA Freedom Assistant Coach role for the 2017 International Cup. Her day job is Director, Online Marketing at Aconex – but “footy coach” is more fun to say.

Jess WhisneyJess Whisney - Team Manager

Jess Whisney hails from Minnesota and plays for the Freeze women's team.  She became a member of the Minnesota Freeze in 2011 when she started participating in their highly successful Fitness through Footy program.  Before joining the Freeze, she had learned about Australian Football during a trip to Australia but never dreamed she would one day be playing the game.  She credits the Minnesota Freeze's pathway from Fitness through Footy to Women's Rec Footy and then to the Freeze club team as getting her hooked on footy.  Since joining the Freeze she has become a regular on the back line and in March of 2013 she also took on a leadership role to help the women's team keep on track.  In order to support her footy habit, Jess is employed in the printed electronics business where she is an Office Manager.