USAFL Foundation: 25th Anniversary Campaign

USAFL Foundation

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Secure our Future

The USAFL Foundation was launched in 2020. The Foundation's mission is to provide ongoing financial assistance for the development of Australian Football in the United States.

The Foundation will act as an annual funding mechanism to the USAFL, a USAFL emergency fund for extreme situations, and to support the growth of Australian Football in the United States. Our goal is to raise over $2.5 Million over the next three years to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the League in 2022, starting with raising pledges, in 2020, for $1M.

The league has evolved over the last twenty plus years. Our first decade was “Building the Foundation” of the game. We were young and brash and made it up as we went along. We quickly grew from a handful of founding clubs to over 20. We launched the men’s national team, the Revolution, in 1999. Our second decade was all about “Growing the Sport”. Nationals had become too big for host clubs to manage so the league took on running the Nationals and it has ballooned into the biggest single weekend footy carnival in the world (including Australia). We launched women’s footy which has grown significantly and along with that came the women’s national team, the Freedom.

We are now in our third decade which is about “Securing the Future”.  We are like the college grad who is leaving home and entering the workforce. The USAFL Foundation is our 401(k) and we want to build it as part of our 25th Anniversary celebrations in 2022. 

Each year the Foundation will support development activities, identified by the USAFL Board, that support the USAFL’s mission of growing Australian Football in the USA.

Our request is for donors to pledge a monthly, quarterly, or annual contribution to the fund. The amounts will be tied to the league’s 25th Anniversary. We are asking for pledges in the amount of $25, $250, $2,500 or $25,000 recurring monthly, quarterly, annually or one time. All donations are tax deductible in the USA through the USAFL’s 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

Giving Levels:

Specky: $25 per month (A specky is a fantastic and spectacular play, generally either a mark or a goal)

Blinder: $250 per quarter (A blinder is a great individual game)

BOG (Best on Ground): $2,500 per year (BOG is an award to the player of the match)

Best and Fairest: $25,000 plus (Best and Fairest is the Aussie equivalent of MVP)

Boundary Rider: Any gift amount (A Boundary Rider is anyone that supports a team from the sidelines or “boundary”)

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For any questions on the Foundation, please email Paul “Plugger” O’Keeffe at

Watch the Launch of the USAFL Foundation with special guest Paul Roos reliving his time with the USAFL in 1999.


Foundation Committee

The Foundation Committee is comprised of three people. Their role is to manage the Foundation and includes driving the fundraising effort of the Foundation, present quarterly updates to the USAFL Board, and publish an Annual Report to all USAFL members and donors.

We are extremely proud to have the initial founders of the league working together again. This time they are working to ensure the long-term financial health of the league.

Our three committee members are:

Paul O'Keeffe

Paul, fondly nicknamed Plugger, at his first match in 1997, we the Founding President of the League. He worked tirelessly through the first 12 years of the league as President, Member-at-Large, Revolution Manager and International Liaison.

Plugger is the driving force behind the launch of Foundation. Now that he has retired, he has time to give back to the game.

Plugger is excited about the potential of the Foundation to provide on-going, financial stability for the league “When we started the league our goal was for the league to be around forever. The Foundation is the next step in our evolution. We are creating the financial footing the league has always needed”

“When I was younger, I had time and energy to give to the league. Twenty years on I am in a different spot and can now give financially to the league. The game in the US continues to be strong, the Foundation will just make it stronger.”

For more on Plugger check out his: Hall of Fame page

Rich Mann

Rich Mann was a founding member of the USAFL. He served as the League’s second President for 7 years.

“I never thought when I went for a kick of footy in Cincinnati in late 1996, we'd be sitting here in 2020 with one of the biggest international Aussie rules leagues and the biggest tournament in the world. I've moved interstate twice, internationally once and wouldn't change a thing. 

Australian Football, I believe, is truly one the most inclusive sports, both on and off the field and through that, I have made some of my best, life-long friends through footy. 

The USAFL Foundation will provide a bedrock base for the financial security and longevity of this league and keep the best sport in the world in the USA.

For the good of the game, now and forever...”

For more on Rich check out his Hall of Fame page.

Steve Arnott

Steve began his career as a field umpire in Sydney in 1988 and umpired 73 NSW State League and Sydney Football League games before moving to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1991.

After completing law school and establishing a law practice, he resumed umpiring in 1999. His memory is faulty, but he thinks Plugger might have had something to do with that. Initially Steve traveled to tournaments to umpire and, after the Minnesota Freeze was established in 2004, also umpired Minnesota games. He has umpired over 300 games in the US, including 13 men’s Division 1 grand finals, four men’s Division 2 grand finals, and one women’s Division 1 grand final. Steve was one of the founders of the USAFL Umpires Association, and has been Vice President of the USAFLUA since its inception.

“Umpiring in the US has come a long way since 1999. We now have dedicated and committed group of accredited field and goal umpires, and even a boundary umpire or two. The USAFLUA has forged strong links with umpires, not only in Australia and Canada, but with other international leagues. I have always viewed umpiring as a great way to give back to the game.”

Steve has worked at Hamline University in St. Paul since 2008 and is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies.

For more on Steve check out his Hall of Fame page.


The USAFL Foundation is accepting pledges.  We offer a variety of options to customize the amount of your pledge, the frequency of pledges, and the date at which to start pledging.  All donations are fully tax deductible.

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Annual Reports

2020 Annual Report

USAFL Foundation Launch

Watch AFL