Americans Playing Footy Down Under

USAFL Players wishing to experience a season playing in Australia are able to do so through a number of avenues.

There are a number of people in Australia based in the states of Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory who are engaged in assisting players in this program involving local football clubs and USAFL players.  

Doug Drinkwater of the USAFL Australian Advisory Board will be the main contact ( to assist as many players as we can with football clubs in both the USA and Australia. The process in place aims to match up the USAFL Player with the local Australian Club and vice-versa.  

It is important that the USAFL player fully participates in the Australian club that they are assigned to as they will be provided the opportunity to understand how Australian community Clubs operate, both on & off the field.  

The premise of this exchange program is that when you return to the USA you will re-engage with your local club and pass on the knowledge and experience you have gained so as to improve the skills and participation level of local USA football clubs and subsequently at the National level.  

All travelers other than Australian and New Zealand citizens need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:

  • a valid passport or other acceptable travel document
  • a valid visa or authority to enter Australia (including electronic visas)
  • a completed and signed Incoming Passenger Card, including health and character declaration 

As a basic requirement players from Australia or the USA are required to obtain their own Visa. 

Working holiday visa options:

You may be eligible to apply for a working holiday visa if you:

  • Want to work and holiday in Australia for up to a year
  • Are a young person (18 to 30 years old)
  • Hold a valid passport from an eligible country
  • Have enough money to:
    • Support yourself in Australia on a working holiday (about AUD 5000)
    • Buy a return or onward travel ticket at the end of your stay
    • Do not have a dependent child staying with you during your time in Australia

The Work and Holiday (Temporary) visa (subclass 462) is for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year.

It is a temporary visa that encourages cultural exchange and closer ties between Australia and eligible countries.

Working in Australia – six months with one employer: You can generally only work six months with one employer. More information is available at Working in Australia – six months with one employer

The FIRST step is to ensure that you qualify for an Aust Govt 462, which provides for a 12 month working holiday Visa.  No need to apply just make sure you qualify.

If you do not qualify you can only enter Australia on a holiday visa which can enable you stay for up to 3 / 6 or 12 months and not work.  more information on these types of visas (eg sub class 600) can be found on the Australian Government web site link as follows:

To meet the requirements of most types of visitor visas the traveler has to be basically self funded.

If you are able to get a 462 visa or other temporary visa the local Australian club will be obliged to offer you free accommodation for a period of 4 weeks to enable you to settle in and find suitable accommodation - generally can be found with families or players from the host club.  If you have the 462 visa then generally the club member networks can find you work, however, in most cases it is physical type employment.

It is therefore important that you will be able to support yourself after the first month noting that depending on your visa you may not be able to hold wage paying employment.

For further information, contact Doug Drinkwater at

Below is a list of USAFL players who have lived or are currently living in Australia playing footy. You can read players blogs by clicking on any name with a hyperlink:




Australian Club/Competition

2020-23 Danielle Marshall Arizona Hawks Western Bulldogs, Essendon FC, AFLW
2020-21 Patrick Devlin Denver Bulldogs University Blacks, Melbourne (VAFA)
2018-19 Brian Rippeto Denver Bulldogs Old Geelong & Prahran Assumption (VAFA)
2018 Jessica Blecher Portland Sockeyes Nightcliff FC, NTFL (Northern Territory)
Keilor FC, Essendon District FL (Victoria)
2018 Max Depina Seattle Grizzlies University Blacks, Melbourne (VAFA)
2018 Sam Murphy Los Angeles Dragons Gin Gin Eagles, WAAFL (Western Australia)
West Perth Falcons WAFL (Western Australia)
2018 James (JJ) Burke Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids St. Mary's FC, NTFL (Northern Territory)
Jacana FC, Essendon District FL (Victoria)
2018-present Tyler Ames Denver Bulldogs Darwin Buffaloes NTFL (Northern Territory)
Montrose FC, Eastern FL (Victoria)
2018 Brian Traut Minnesota Freeze Mordailloc (SFL)
2018 Gabriel Martin del Campo Los Angeles Dragons Black Rock (SFL)
2017 Ryan Garthright Denver Bulldogs Prahran Assumption, Melbourne (VAFA)
2017 - 2020 Caroline Leduc Montreal Angels UTS AFC Bats (AFL Sydney), East Fremantle FC Sharks (WAFLW), Western Australia State Academy (WAFC), West Coast AFC Tigers (WAAFL)
2016 David Restrepo Houston Lonestars University Blacks
2016 - 2018 Katie Klatt Sacramento & Golden Gate Melbourne University
2015 - 2020 Alexander Aurrichio New York Magpies Northern Blues FC, Southport Sharks, South Adelaide FC, Waratah FC
2015 Buddy Spohn Orange County Mordailloc
2015-16 Ben Carpenter-Nwanyanwu Austin Crows Montrose FC, Eastern FL (Victoria)
2014 Eric Politz Columbus Jackaroos Jeparit Rainbow, Mallee Football League, VIC
2014 Clyde Simpson Columbus Jackaroos Jeparit Rainbow, Mallee Football League, VIC
2012 Lara Porter Denver Bulldogs Yeronga, SEQAFL Womens League
2012 Caleb Doherty Kansas City Power Donnybrook Football Club, WAAFL
2012 Dave Zitko St. Louise Blues Harvey Brunswick Lions, WAAFL
2012 Jason Wilhelm Chicago United Gin Gin Eagles, WAAFL
2011 Richard Wheelock BW Eagles Rovers FC, Central Australian Football League, NT
2012 Zac Swan Minnesota Freeze Perth, WA
2012 Nolan Ellis Denver Bulldogs Kingsway Roos Football Club, WAAFL
World XVIII - Under 16 National Championships
2012 Brandon Heicklen LA Dragons World XVIII - Under 16 National Championships
2011 Jesse Leos Austin Crows Barwon Heads Football Club, Bellarine Football League, VIC
2011 Tyler Mounce OC Bombers North Fremantle Football Club, WAAFL
2011 Nathan Minshew Sacramento Suns Mt Barker Bulls, WA Country League
2011 Andrew 'Chip' Price Louisville Kings Carlisle Football Club, WAAFL C2
East Fremantle Eagles, WAAFL C3
2011 Daniel Lehane New York Magpies World XVIII Team - 2011 Under 16 National Championships
2010 Dan Sarbacker Milwaukee Bombers Mansfield Eagles, Goulbourn Valley Football League, VIC
2010 Zach Johns Seattle Grizzlies Fremantle CBC, WAAFL
2010 Eric Floyd Louisville Kings Kurkerin/Dumbleyung Cougars, Upper Great Southern Football League, WA
2010 Bryan Dragus Golden Gate Roos Western (Brisbane) Magpies, QAFL
2010 James Hildenbrand Phildelphia Hawks Newton/Condingup, Esperance Districts Football Association
2010 Chris Frazen Milwaukee Bombers World XVIII Team
2010 Alex McPhee Portland Steelheads World XVIII Team
2009 Doren James Milwaukee Bombers Parkside FC, Melbourne (NFL)
2009 Andrew Werner Minnesota Freeze Mt Barker Bulls, WA County League
2009 Brent Mergen Minnesota Freeze Albany, WA County League
2008 Zach Johns Seattle Grizzlies  
2006 James Brunmeier Milwaukee Bombers Perth, WA
2005 Jared Brunmeier Milwaukee Bombers Perth, WA

To learn more about the exchange program contact the USAFL Operations Manager »

To submit content to this page, please email the USAFL Communications Manager »

Watch AFL