State of the USAFL

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Over the past year, the USAFL Executive Board has been hard at work instituting best practices for non-profits and creating systems to uphold league rules and regulations/policies. While the league hovers around 1,000 annual members, the USAFL is advancing as an organization. As a better organization we can be poised for more league growth. We must have one before the other. 

The past 24 months board activities focused on the non-profit aspect of the league ensuring the organization is well prepared to answer the IRS if an audit occurred.

These activities included:

  • Creation of standard policies and procedures in a formalized and consolidated manner
  • An internal review of the USAFL Constitution
  • Completing annual tax returns to ensure our 501(c)(3) status is maintained
  • Organization and public posting of all relevant documents at http://usafl.com/organization-documents
  • Creation of a board handbook detailing all league policies, procedures, and roles
  • Transition and organization of league documents to Google Drive for enterprise management. 

In April 2012, the Executive Board presented a 5 Year Strategic Growth Plan to AFL International Manager Tony Woods. This plan outlined areas of growth, focusing on participation, talent development, organization, partnerships, and marketing. The calendar year 2014 marks the 3rd year of this plan. 

While not officially, participation numbers have continued to grow at a local level with metro and co-ed leagues across the country. Golden Gate, Portland, Baltimore-Washington, and Chicago are examples of strong metro communities and recently, co-ed leagues have formed in Sacramento, Denver, and Columbus. The National Tournament continues to be the marquee event of the USAFL season with close to 1,000 participants over the two-day period. Full 18-a-side matches are now being played in three men's and one women's division. The Masters v. Legends Alumni game at Nationals, in its second year, is proving to be a popular event and looks towards future expansion. The introduction of the League Management System (LMS) helps track the participation and provides transparency for all teams and players.

The USAFL organized all aspects of the AFL combines in Los Angeles and is looking at the 3rd event in 2014. Three athletes have signed international contracts with AFL clubs signifying a turning point in international recruitment. The Revolution and Freedom continue their participation at an international level and are preparing for the 2014 International Cup in Melbourne. 

From a marketing standpoint, the USAFL and Fox Sports (formerly Fox Soccer Plus) entered into a partnership allowing the league to have its first national advertisement played during games broadcast on Fox Sports. The league is looking to capitalize on the American athletes at AFL combines and AFL teams.

As we move to 2014 the plan is to continue concentrating on the organizational structure and increasing participation and the development of players. The following projects are either underway or planned to occur in 2014:  

  • Trademarking of the USAFL, USA Revolution, USA Freedom, and USA Liberty names
  • USAFL Constitution update/amendment based upon the 2013 internal review
  • Creation of Organization By-Laws
  • Texas State Refund for the 2013 Nationals, a 5 month project
  • Creation of a partnership with the City of Indianapolis to make the World Sports Park the first football specific oval certified by the AFL (completion summer 2014).  
  • 3rd Annual AFL US Combine in Los Angeles
  • Continued development of the League Management System
  • USAFL participation at the 2014 International Cup in Melbourne, Australia
  • A General Development Fund for local teams; funded by the USAFL
  • Regional tournaments in the West, Central, and East regions

The biggest challenge facing the league is official participation and registration. Both are important for reporting purposes showing growth of the game, revenue, and insurance coverage. The current board has worked to uphold rules and regulations that clubs have adopted over the past 16 years. However, the current model of registration does not encourage growth outside of the National Tournament. As we continue to face challenges, the board plans for a successful 2014 and continued movement forward as an organization. 

On behalf of the USAFL Executive Board, 

Andy Vanica
President, USAFL

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