Letter from the President | April 2012

We enter April on a somber note – the USAFL lost a member this week when Dallas Magpie Rob Rothlein passed away during the evening of March 26. “Rob was a member of the club for several years, a dedicated teammate, and “all around good guy”, said club president Stuart Rackham. During these times, we all wear one jumper, and personally, I am thankful to have this community as support. Please keep your thoughts and prayers with Rob and his family.

It is Spring across the country, the AFL season is underway, and many teams have commenced with practices, metro games, and club activities. Several clubs have formed co-ed non-contact leagues, and use those activities to ease into the season while providing a local foundation and funnel to the club's teams. As the season gets underway, membership with the USAFL becomes a central issue. I’d like to address why USAFL player registration is important:

  1. Registration is a source of revenue for the USAFL. The League has two main sources of revenue each year. As an international affiliate of the AFL, we receive funding on an annual basis. In return, we must reach goals set by the AFL. Growing registered participants is one of those. The second source comes from club and player dues. Club dues account for roughly $10,000 while player dues total roughly $65,000.  To have the USAFL exist, we conduct a yearly audit using a 3rd party ensuring we conform to 501(c)3 standards, prepare taxes, and pay for liability insurance which totals $10,000, thus club dues account for the existence of the League even before a ball is kicked. The AFL grant and $65,000 in player registration revenue goes towards operating expenses of the League (salaries for Operations, Communications, Accountant, and Nationals Tournament Director), IT infrastructure, Nationals, Revolution and Freedom activities, umpire clinics, and coaching clinics. To debunk a popular myth, the President and all other Board positions are all volunteer roles. The USAFL is a non-profit organization, which means in general on a yearly basis, the income of the League equals the expenses of the League.
  2. Liability Coverage is provided by the USAFL as an insurance policy protecting the League, local clubs, and all registered USAFL members. In order for your club to secure field space, many townships and private entities who rent facilities require proof of insurance. What does this cover? It protects the club and League from 3rd party lawsuits that arise from club activities. For example, if a ball is kicked out of bounds, and happens to knock into a mother holding her baby, and said mother drops her child… the League and your club have liability insurance. This is why signing the USAFL waiver and registering prior to all activities (practice, metro, co-ed leagues, games, and clinics) is critical. Having unregistered players participating in on-field League activities directly places the League AND your club in harm’s way. Without proper coverage, it is likely one lawsuit would have far reaching consequences for that club, its members, leadership and beyond.
  3. AFL Goals: As previously mentioned, one of the USAFL's sources of funds is the annual AFL grant, for which the USAFL must meet certain pre-determined goals in relation to those funds. One of the current stated goals is to grow participation to 2,000 members by 2016. Over the past three years, player growth has hovered around 1,000 players. Without registering, we cannot capture your participation in the League and thus, cannot show growth.

To quickly summarize, if you do not register, the USAFL cannot support local programs to help promote the game, the League and local club are legally exposed, and participation is not recorded which ultimately impacts the AFL view of the USAFL progress.

It’s very easy to register, just visit http://usafl.com/registration and take advantage of the $40 early registration fee that ends April 30th.

Thank you again for your commitment in growing the sport in the US. As always, I am available to talk, just shoot me an email anytime at president@usafl.com.

Andy Vanica, President

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