Revos, Freedom Head to Dallas for Final IC17 Camp

It seems weird to think that it’s been three years since the last International Cup.  Since the men and women of the USAFL travelled to Melbourne to take on talented footy players from around the globe.  Has it really been that long?

And yet here we are, just several months out from IC17, another gathering wherein the AFL welcomes in the world to play their game.  The journey in preparation for players and staff has been arduous, but for all, it’s a matter of working hard to be one of the lucky few to pull on the red, white, and blue jumper.

That journey has one last stop before the kickoff of IC17 in August, as the final major camp for the USA Revolution men’s team and USA Freedom and Liberty women’s teams takes place this weekend in Dallas, Texas.

Coach Tom Ellis’ journey at the helm of the Revolution began in June, 2015, giving him just two months to prepare his team for the Parallel Cup match against Canada.  Since then, he and his staff have been scouting all 35 USAFL clubs for players, and the results of those efforts yielded his final list of fifty, which was announced at Nationals in Sarasota, Florida, back in October.

From those fifty, half of them will be heading to Melbourne in August, with the goal to make it to the team’s first ever International Cup Grand Final, to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  The other half will travel to Europe in 2018.

Ellis says that he plans to put the prospects their paces on Saturday, and a game against the Dallas Magpies is on tap for Sunday.  Despite not training together as a team since their regional camps last year, the fifty players have been tasked with exercises to keep their fitness and their skills sharp, not only for their International Cup hopes, but for their personal and team growth as well.

“Saturday is testing day.  It’s going to be a big day to determine who we take,” said Ellis, who became the first Revo player to himself become head coach. “I’m really excited to see how these guys perform.  I [have] put them on some elite fitness programs.”

As for the Freedom, coach Leigh Barnes named his squad for the International Cup in October as well, in addition to the Liberty development side that will tour against local sides around Melbourne concurrently with the IC17 competition.

In Dallas for the camp will be the 26 members of the Freedom, and 30 from the Liberty.   This will be the first mass gathering of the women’s contingent for a camp since they met last August in Racine, Wisconsin.  Like the Revos, the women have been training on their own and small groups since the announcement, going through individualized skills and fitness programs.

The players won’t be the only one sweating it out this weekend.  The Freedom coaching staff will be put to the dreaded beep test on Saturday as part of the “So You Can Think You Can Coach?” fundraising initiative, which aims to raise $1,000 for the trip to Australia.  The teams will also be unveiling a new logo and new jumpers, which will make their competitive debuts in Melbourne.

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