USFootyKids Clinic in Phoenix

The Arizona Hawks and Arizona Australian Football League spent last weekend at the Phoenix Zoo bringing footy to scores of kids and adults. Australia New Zealand American Chamber of Commerce President Jan McGrath invited the Hawks to be a part of the Zoo's grand opening weekend of the new Wallaby Walkabout exhibit.

Hawks players, along with the club's Junior Development Officer Kevin Cherilla and USFootyKids Coordinator Denis Ryan spent the weekend introducing Australian Football to the kids and parents who braved the 75° weather at the Zoo event. Under fantastic blue skies and sunshine, the eager kids took to the sport straightaway showing great promise in their kicking and handball skills. Parents were also encouraged to participate in the action and did so with great enthusiasm. In addition to lending a hand at the event, Club President Andrew Ashworth took the opportunity to showcase the kicking prowess of 5-year-old son, Kyle. Manda Zarak, a supporter for the West Valley Scorpions of the AZAFL, spent the day explaining the game and USFootyKids course to curious parents.

An estimated 200 kids were a part of the 2 day event, many of them spending an hour or longer with the Arizona footy club. Some photos from the event can be seen here:

On Monday, Denis Ryan spent the day with 5th through 8th graders at Phoenix Country Day School where Cherilla is a Physical Education teacher. Many students from the school have already been practicing with the Scottsdale Dingos, an AZAFL metro club of which Cherilla and Ashworth are a part. Another 220 more kids received footy training from Ryan, Cherilla and Ashworth at the school.

Enough community interest was shown that the Hawks and AZAFL will be conducting the 6-week USFootyKids course beginning January 31st, 2004. For more information on the course, please visit

- John Meier

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