1,000 Aussie Footballers To Invade Atlanta

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(ATLANTA) – A thousand athletes from across the country will invade Atlanta for The United States Australian Football League National Championships. The distinctive and quintessential USFooty NationalsAustralian game has taken hold in the United States and now boasts some 40 teams from coast to coast.


The announcement that Atlanta will play host to the national tournament, Oct. 9th-10th, 2004, was made early this year by the governing body for Australian football in this country, the United States Australian Football League (USAFL). The tournament, the league’s eighth annual national championship, will be hosted by the league’s local side, the “Atlanta Kookaburras.” This is the first time Atlanta has hosted the tournament. Last year, the tournament drew 26 teams from across the nation and was won by the Denver Bulldogs. The Marriott Perimeter Center hotel will host the tournament’s players and VIP guest’s, as well as holding the Saturday night dinner function.


 "Atlanta presented us a very attractive package," said USAFL president, Mark Wheeler, “with even better grounds to stage the tournament, we are confident this year’s event will be even more successful than last year’s, which was a record turnout for us. The location and affordability of the package Atlanta has put together will allow most every player and club in nation to attend the 2004 tournament, and that's better for all of us."


 "We want to build on the success of previous year’s tournaments," said local tournament director, Wayne Kraska, “by improving in every area we can, but especially the fields where the games will be played. Last year’s grounds were adequate, but this year we think they can be outstanding.”


Wheeler added, “Hundreds of spectators that turned out for last year’s Kansas City finals all had a great time. You can mix with the players, learn how to play the game, try your hand at kicking and passing, and enjoy some great Australian cuisine. It really is good fun for the whole family.”


The games will be played over two days, Oct. 9-10th, on grounds at the North Atlanta Polo Grounds in Cumming Georgia. The tournament will once again feature three divisions pitting clubs according to their national rankings and league titles. The event also will include booths featuring Australian foods and beverages, Australian merchandise, as well as USAFL club and tournament gear. There is a small admission fee that will be charged for all interested spectators. In addition, clinics will be held for those who would like to learn more about the game, and try their hand.


Australian Rules Football (“footy”) is one of the most spectacular, physically demanding and quickest team sports in the world. Its roots are traceable to early forms of rugby and Gaelic football, but it is uniquely Australian. Its rules were codified in 1858, and probably predate all other modern forms of football. Faster than rugby and American football, more physical than soccer, this national sport of Australia now is played across the United States and all over the world. For years, Americans have observed the game on ESPN and Fox Sports World. The wild, action-packed game immediately caught on with Americans, who now make up the bulk of most clubs’ rosters. The league has grown steadily to include more than 30 clubs nationwide, with over 2000 registered players.


The United States Australian Football League, founded in 1997, is an amateur, grassroots sports organization dedicated to the development of Australian football in the United States. The USAFL, which is comprised of more than 30 member clubs, promotes participation by emphasizing awareness and a sense of community within its member clubs, by setting standards by which member clubs agree to abide and by fostering youth programs across the United States.


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