President's Update: Settling In

How hard is it to believe its already been four weeks since Nationals? Its been a time for me to settle in to the role of President, finding out where the USAFL is at, what our processes are and seeing how all this ties into what I’d like to do going forward. I’ve also had some fires to put out, some expected, others not so much… It’s all good though, as part of my mindset going into this was to expect the unexpected!

At this point I think it is pertinent to thank the 2013 Board for all their efforts of the past year, particularly the outgoing members in Andy Vanica, Brandon Blankenship, Andrew Werner and Kathryn Hogg. Keith Nelson will soon be added to this list as we find a replacement and he transitions out of the Treasurer’s role. I can certainly say he has been extremely helpful to me in these first few weeks. Being a Board member is largely a thankless job - not many people seem to notice the good things you do, but they will jump all over you the moment you slip up. Please don’t be afraid to reach out to any one of these people and personally thank them for their efforts.

Sadly, I feel I feel I cannot go without mentioning the tragic passing of Houston Lonestar’s player, Craig Ruggles. I did not know Craig personally, but I feel that the camaraderie and nature of our game makes us all brothers and sister in arms and I know I speak on behalf of the whole USAFL Community when I say my heart goes out to his family, teammates and friends. Someone passing away unexpectedly in the prime of their life, certainly has a “stop and smell the roses” effect on you. I know I’ve found it difficult to look at my two boys without thinking about how short life is. 

Going forward, December will be a busy month for the Board with the Annual Retreat being held the weekend of December 7/8, where we will do the bulk of our planning for next year. I also intend to get in contact with each club President to start, what will be, an ongoing process of discussion on how we can move your club forward - that will in turn move the USAFL forward. This is a process I had already expected to have begun by now, so I’m a little behind schedule. If you are a club President that is eager to get started, don’t wait for me to make contact, you’re welcome to call me anytime.

One of the things I’d like to make a regular feature of the President’s Blog is to pass on something that will be of benefit to you in one way or another. I would like to say you should expect some great advice on life, philosophy or the universe in general, but seeing as my expertise is limited to being a master plumber and a footy nut (which, including my family, is pretty much all my universe is), Australian Football is mostly all you’re going to hear about…

With that said I’m going to start of with an easy one, the AFL Community Club website. Bookmark this website, I advise you to sign up for their newsletter and make it a habit to check out the coaching tips, videos and blogs from this incredibly resourceful website.

If you don’t hear from me beforehand, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving…. and while you’re digesting your turkey, think about what it is that you can do to grow this great game in the US. I’d love to hear your ideas, so feel free to email me at

Denis Ryan, President

~Something Good is going to Happen!


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