USA Freedom Squad Announced

USA Freedom

USA Freedom Coach, Leigh Barnes, announced the USA Freedom squad for the 2011 AFL International Cup today.  The team will travel to Australia in August to compete in the first ever women’s International Cup competition.

Six teams from the USA, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Italy, Ireland and a Multi-cultural Indigenous team will compete in this history-making event in Sydney and Melbourne from August 15-27.

The team was selected from a talented group of players spread out all across the USA.  Many of these players secured their position on the squad through attendance at the 2011 Training Camp in Austin, Texas, displaying their dedication to the cause.

“We went in to the training camp as a bunch of unknowns, the coaching staff did not know the players and vice versa, but at the end of the weekend, the enthusiasm of the players absolutely blew me away, and we put in place our plan for the IC tournament, as a team, not as individuals. Since then, I have been grateful that the word has been spread that we are in this to win, have a good time, and represent the USAFL Woman’s program to the best of our ability” coach Barnes opined. “I welcome all to the International Cup, set your sights high, enjoy your teammates, your coaches, and above all, enjoy representing your Country, no higher honor indeed in this great game of ours.”

For many of the players this will not only be their first international tournament, but their first time in Australia or overseas.

2011 USA Freedom Squad:

Andrea Casillas - New York Magpies
Becky Kraft - Minnesota Freeze (VC)
Christina Licata - New York Magpies
Courtney Church - Arizona Hawks
Eileen Geoghegan - Baltimore-Washington Eagles
Elaine Schreiber - Sacramento Screamers
Hallie Adrian Lee - Denver Bulldogs
Helen Spink - Milwaukee Bombers (VC)
Janell Meyers - Denver Bulldogs
Jen Cravens - Denver Bulldogs
Jessie Hazen - Denver Bulldogs
Jessica Estrada - Sacramento Screamers
Judith Stein - Baltimore-Washington Eagles (C)
Karen Stablein - Baltimore-Washington Eagles
Kathryn Hogg - Minnesota Freeze
Lara Porter - Denver Bulldogs
Lindsey Kastanek - Denver Bulldogs

Lizzy Even - Minnesota Freeze
Marie LaVictoire - Minnesota Freeze
Missy Dykstra - Minnesota Freeze
Monica Rasocha - Denver Bulldogs (VC)
Monica Robbins - New York Magpies
Nicole Fasula - Arizona Hawks
Nikki-Nicole Peoples - Atlanta Kookaburras
Robin Bishop - Sacramento Screamers
Siobhan McHale - New York Magpies
Susie Ohle - Denver Bulldogs
Tracy Corwin - Denver Bulldogs

Alternates:
Amy Bishop - Sacramento Screamers
Emily Riehl - Chicago
JoAna Cramblit - Minnesota Freeze

“The training camp in Austin was a real eye opener for me to see the passion and enthusiasm of the women who are at the forefront of driving and developing this sport in the USA,” said Assistant Coach, Milli Bruce, “It was their positivity and great attitudes that a lot of the selections were based on, and I have no doubt that energy will continue on to the tour Down Under, I'm really looking forward to it!” concluded Bruce.

Captaining the Freedom will be veteran Freedom team member, Judith Stein of the Balitmore-Washington Eagles.  Judith has been with the Freedom since their first match in 2007 against the Canadian Northern Lights.  Judith has been playing footy since 2005 and brings a wealth of knowledge and talent to the team.

As the squad is geographically diverse, we have appointed a team of three Vice Captains to assist in leading the group.  Helen Spink, of Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Milwaukee Bombers heads up the Vice Captaincy.  Helen is not new to the role, Vice-Captaining the team in 2009 during their tour Down Under. Helen began her footy career in 2007 with the Baltimore-Washington Eagles. Our second vice captain from the Denver Bulldogs is Monica Rasocha.  Monica has been playing footy since 2006 and has proven to be a strong leader amongst the group. Last, but definitely not least, we have Becky Kraft of the Minnesota Freeze.  Becky is still relatively new to the sport first playing in 2010.  Becky was a part of the 2010 Freedom squad, which played against Canada at the 2010 49th Parallel Cup in Toronto, Canada. Becky is a strong player and shows real promise as a leader on and off the field.

The International Cup requires a lot of preparation and commitment from the players, both on and off the field.  The players will be away from their homes and families for approximately 2 weeks, which for many players will be their entire years annual leave. The financial commitment is also significant with players required to fund their own travel and expenses. There will be a big fundraising effort initiated in the near future and the Freedom squad will be seeking the support of the U.S. Australian Football community.

This is a very exciting year for the Australian Football in the U.S. with the USA being one of only a few countries sending both a mens and womens team to the International Cup. Both the women’s Freedom and men’s Revolution teams will greatly benefit from this larger support group whilst in Australia.

Further information on the 2011 International Cup:
http://www.afl.com.au/international%20cup/tabid/10241/default.aspx
http://www.usafl.com/ic2011