2020 AFL International Cup Headed to Sunshine Coast

For the last two years, the USA Revolution and USA Freedom national teams have been waiting for an opportunity at AFL International Cup redemption.

After a long wait, they will now know when and where they’ll be going in order to get it.

The Australian Football League announced early Monday morning US time that the 2020 AFL International Cup will be played at the newly renovated Maroochydore Sporting Complex on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland from July 25 through August 8.

It will be the first time that the tournament will be held in Queensland, and the first carnival that will take place completely outside of Melbourne.

The AFL’s announcement of the event also included that Grand Final matches will be played at the Gabba in Brisbane, home of the Lions, as a curtain raiser and curtain closer for the Lions-West Coast Eagles Round 21 match on August 8th.

“We’re delighted to take the event to the Sunshine Coast where participants will not only get to experience playing on first-class facilities, but also enjoy some of Australia’s most iconic scenery,” said AFL General Manager of Game Development Andrew Dillon in the release.  “The 2020 AFL International Cup promises to be another exciting event which celebrates the love of Australian Football and continued growth of our game overseas.”

2020 will mark the seventh AFL International Cup carnival, which is a triennial event begun in 2002.  For the first time ever, both American sides will be helmed by American head coaches, as well as former players for their respective teams.

The Revolution men have appeared in all six tournaments, with their best finish being a third-place showing in 2005.  Tom Ellis looks to improve upon the 4th place showing his side put up in 2017, when they posted a 3-2 record and came just percentage points short of making it to the Grand Final.  Ellis announced his initial 20-man roster following the 2019 USAFL Nationals, as well as a list of 23 players who will be competing for the final ten spots.  Returning players include IC17 Men’s MVP Ben Carpenter-Nwanyanwu (Austin) and All-World Team members Saleh Tyebjee (Seattle) and Ryan Garthright (Denver).  Erik Anderson (Portland) and Gabriel Martin del Campo (Los Angeles) are among the eight Revos debutantes in the 20-man list. 

Debuting at IC2011, the USA Freedom Women have finished third, third, and fourth in their three appearances.  The Freedom advanced to the semifinals in 2017 before falling to arch-rival Canada in a hard-fought semifinal.  Coach Christina Licata and her staff announced their full 28-woman roster at Nationals, as well as an eight-woman emergency list.  AFLW listed player Danielle Marshall (Western Bulldogs / Arizona Hawks) will make her Freedom debut, as will much decorated midfielder Ellise Gallagher (San Francisco).  Jessica Blecher (Portland), Kim Hemenway (New York), and Paige Kiecker (Minnesota) are among the seven returning players from the 2017 squad.

IC2017 featured a total of 18 men’s teams in two divisions, and 8 sides in the women’s division.  The AFL is still confirming the final number of teams, as well as the format for the tournament.  Papua New Guinea, who has appeared in all six Grand Final matches, pipped New Zealand in the men’s decider at the MCG last time out.  The Irish Banshees came from behind in the second half to upend Canada at what is now Marvel Stadium in the women’s final.  All of those teams are expect to return alongside the Americans.

More info will be available soon as we go on the road to the Sunshine Coast.  You can read the complete AFL release here.

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