USAFL Launches International Exchange Program

On June 2nd 2014, Tony Fairhead and Scott Matheson from the USAFL met with AFL Victoria General Manager, Grant Williams, and Communications Manager, David O'Neill.  The goal of the meeting was, among other things, to formalize an international exchange program between the two organizations.  The USAFL is pleased to announce a partnership with AFL Victoria beginning for the 2015 season.

American Aussie Rules players have been competing in Australia for a number of years, with the program focused initially in country Western Australia.  The exchange is the brainchild of Tony Fairhead, Director of the USAFL Advisory Board.  For this season, the focus of the exchange moved to the heartland of footy in rural Victoria.  Eric Politz and Clyde Simpson from the Columbus Jackaroos have had a tangible effect on the Jeparit/Rainbow Football Club and community.  Previously, prominent USA Revolution players such as team captain Andrew Werner, ruckman Jason Wilhelm and forward Eric Floyd had all played in WA.  For those interested in learning more about the quality of the experience, we can recommend checking out Jason's blog which covers his time in detail.

In addition, several quality Australians have been on the ground in the USA this year working in development roles with local clubs.  Martha Baker has been involved with the Portland Steelheads, specifically to establish a women's team in the city, but broadly to grow footy in northern Oregon.  Kenrick Tyrell from the NTFL has worked with both the Orange County Bombers and the Tulsa Buffaloes.  Tulsa, being a developing USAFL club, was particularly positive about having Kenrick involved in trainings and social events.  Tony and Scott will continue the assessment process for sending Australian 'ambassadors' over to the USAFL.

Future American players will be expected to have an immediate impact on rural football clubs in Victoria.  Host clubs will organize housing and moderate employment for USAFL players, while the Americans will be involved in coaching, administration and community service.  The favorable visa situation makes it a smoother transition for USAFL talent coming down under.  

Any current USAFL players potentially interested in the exchange program for 2015 and beyond are encouraged to contact VP Central, Scott Matheson (scott.matheson@usafl.com) for more information.

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