US Athletes to Attend Inaugural Australian Football Combine

College athletes will attend the inaugural Australian Football US Combine in their first step in pursuing a career in Australia’s leading professional sport.

The Combine will test more than 25 student athletes with basketball and football backgrounds in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles on Tuesday August 28.

The pilot program will mirror the Australian Football League’s (AFL) Combine testing. Similar to the NFL Combine, AFL Combine testing includes standing and vertical jumps, sprinting, agility and endurance.

The schedule for the three days of the Combine will include a presentation by the AFL on the opportunities and pathways that lay ahead, an introduction to the basic skills of the game and the combine testing for skills and endurance.

Attending the event from the AFL will be Tony Woods (AFL International Development Manager), Tadhg Kennelly (former Sydney Swan), Mick Ablett (AFL-AIS), James Hepner and Amy Hattam and attending from the USAFL will be ​Andy Vanica (President), Matt Bishop (Revolution Head Coach), Dan Sarbacker  (Development Team Head Coach) and Doren James (Operations Manager).

The full list of athletes attending is as follows:

First Name Surname From Background Height Weight
Emmanuel Moody Not Available Football 6’0” 205 02/27/1987
Draylen Ross Not Available Football 6’3” 282 03/21/1988
Derrel Acrey Not Available Football 6’1 238 05/31/1988
Spencer Perrin Eastern Kentucky Basketball 6’5” 200 08/14/1988
Patrick Hazel Boston U Basketball 6’6” 220 8/05/1988
Yannick Crowder Florida A&M Basketball 6’8” 215 06/26/1990
Ron Burks VMI Basketball 6’5” 215 05/18/1990
B.J. Shearry UC Riverside Basketball 6’7” 220 04/22/1990
Will Taylor Cal Poly Basketball 6’8” 230 03/20/1989
Matt Sauey North Florida Basketball 6’7” 205 10/04/1990
Frank Ben-Eze Davidson Basketball 6’10” 237 08/26/1989
Scottie Farrington Louisiana Lafayette Basketball 6’8” 195 12/08/1988
Malcolm White LSU Basketball 6’9” 220 8/11/1988
Cliff Ederaine Eastern Washington Basketball 6’7” 205 6/05/1990
Hakim McCullar Delaware Basketball 6’8” 230 06/16/1989
Christian Bibi Ndongo Louisiana Monroe Basketball 6’9” 195 12/08/1988
Keith Thompson Utah Valley State Basketball 6’6” 180 01/18/1990
Mike McLaughlin Western Oregon Basketball 6’7” 245 9/07/1987
Eric Wallace Seattle University Basketball 6’6” 233 12/13/1988
Ronald Douglas South Alabama Basketball 6’7” 225 09/15/1987
Chano Rashiduddin Clark Atlanta Basketball 6’10” 260 08/29/1988
Bennie Rhodes Fresno State Basketball 6’6 190 04/14/1990
Waylon Jones SE Missouri State Basketball 6’9” 220 6/10/1989
Tyler Mounce OC Bombers USAFL 6’3” 200 11/2/1988
Quinn Purnell St. Louis Rams Football 6’0” 200 2/02/1986

AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods said the historic testing session is the first genuine attempt to identify American athletes.

“This is the first step in establishing a series of annual Combines to be held in the US and will create a new pathway for athletes from the US to play at a professional level in the AFL.

“The AFL recognizes this is a new pitch into the US market. We need to relate to a certain type of athlete, sell the opportunity of a professional career in Australia and demonstrate that players can transition into another code successfully.

“We are deliberately targeting taller, elite athletes who play as centres or power forwards in basketball. We feel these athletes have the best chance to transition into our game. In addition we have identified athletes with a football background who have exceptional skills.

“We know that Australian Football is a challenging and unique game, however if you can test equal to or better than Australian players, and you have the desire, you give yourself every chance of succeeding,” he said.

The successful transition to Australia’s most popular sport can be seen in two current international AFL players; Canadian Mike Pyke (rugby) from the Sydney Swans and American Shae McNamara (basketball) from the Collingwood Magpies.

Both Pyke and McNamara feature in an AFL campaign that explains the game and the opportunities that exist for players wishing to pursue an AFL career.

For the first time 10 positions will be available for international athletes to test at the AFL National Draft Combine which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, between October 2-5. Two athletes from the US Combine will be selected to attend.

Former AFL player Tadhg Kennelly will attend the US Combine.  Tadhg was a talented Gaelic footballer who relocated from Ireland to Australia and successfully made the transition to playing in the AFL with the Sydney Swans..

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