USA, Great Britain To Contest Trans-Atlantic Trophy

Two nations, linked together by history, will now come together to do battle on the oval on a triennial basis.

The USAFL and AFL England are pleased to announce the Trans-Atlantic Trophy, in which the USA Revolution and USA Freedom will play the Great Britain Bulldogs and Great Britain Swans every three years beginning in 2021.

Great Britain will host the inaugural matches, which are tentatively scheduled for August 21, 2021, with the return games to be played in the United States in 2024.

The American contingent will most likely play one or more warm-up games against local sides from AFL England in the lead up to the inaugural matches of this agreement.

On the men’s side, the Revolution and Bulldogs have played twice; the Americans have won both matches, It’s been sixteen years since the two teams squared off.  Their last meeting was in the fifth place playoff of the 2002 AFL International Cup when, current coach Tom Ellis helped lead the USA to a 78-point win.  The year before, the Revos accounted for the Brits by 47 points on a wet day in London as part of the Atlantic Alliance Cup, with Matt Daniuski kicking four goals and Ellis being named best on ground.  Great Britain is coming off a sixth place finish at IC17, while the Revos finished 4th.

The Freedom, meanwhile, have met the Swans just once, last August in the IC17 3rd Place match.  After trailing by two goals in the third quarter, Captain Laura Turner-Ramadan helped lead GB over the Americans, and the unpredictable Melbourne weather, in a seven-point triumph.

Occurring exactly one year after IC2020, the Trans-Atlantic Trophy will be an important benchmark in the development of both men’s and women’s international programs.  Both Ellis and Freedom Head Coach Christina Licata are looking to see their teams stretch their wings against two teams that are, themselves, developing into formidable players in the world of international Aussie Rules.

"The US Women's National program is excited to expand our competition to Great Britain for the Transatlantic Cup in 2021,” said Licata.  “As we continue to invest in talented women footballers in the U.S., we're seeking more opportunities for player development and competitive games as well as the growth of women's footy in general. Great Britain has done a fantastic job of growing the sport and we're excited to partner with them in this endeavor."

As for Ellis, England is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of international trips and development:

“The USA Revolution has looked forward to getting back into a competition in Europe since the 2001 Atlantic Cup Alliance.  In 2018 the Revolution went to Ireland for the first time with a team of reserves and first year players.   We want to use the team as a recruiting tool for USA; no better way than having the USA across your chest competing in International games.  

“We hope that we will continue to push the envelope when it comes to more International games with trips to other countries as well as the Trans-Atlantic Cup.   In 2021 we will send over a full squad and look forward to a week of games in Great Britain.  We are also looking to send another squad to Croatia as well as Canada in 2021.   Very exciting times ahead for the USA.”

Photo: Russ Canham

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