USAFL National Championships

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The USAFL National Championships is a tournament for Australian rules football in the United States.

Since 1997, the National Championships have been a large event featuring teams from the United States and Canada in four men's divisions and a women's division. The competition is organized and run by the United States Australian Football League.

As of 2017, the competition consists of five men's divisions and two women's divisions, with a total of 53 teams.

History[edit]

The first championships were held in Cincinnati in 1997, and they were won by the host Cincinnati Dockers. The Queen City would host the first three Nationals, with the 1998 edition welcoming 10 teams. A second division was created for the 1999 Nationals, with eight teams in the upper Division 1 and six in the lower Division 2 competition. Sixteen teams competed in one division in 2000. Divisional play returned for the 2001 championships, and a third division was added for 2002. A fourth division, mainly for reserves clubs and for first year teams, was added in 2007. A second women's division was added for 2015.

The 2015 edition saw the largest turnout in the history of the carnival; 45 teams representing 36 clubs across North America took part.

The Denver Bulldogs have been the most successful side at Nationals. Since 2000, the Bulldogs have appeared in ten Division 1 Grand Finals, winning eight, including four straight from 2002-2005. The Austin Crows have won the second most titles, picking up their third in 2016. The New York Magpies, San Diego Lions and Boston Demons are the only other multiple D1 winners, each having won twice.

Canadian clubs were first invited to the USAFL Championships in 2006. The first Canadian champions were the Vancouver Cougars in 2008. The Calgary Kangaroos appeared in three consecutive Division 2 Grand Finals from 2008–10, winning twice.

In 2005, the first USAFL Women's championships were held and were won by the Atlanta Lady Kookaburras. The Lady Kookas took home the first three premierships until 2008, when their 19-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Calgary Kookaburras. The Denver Lady Bulldogs then won six consecutive titles from 2010–15, winning 20 consecutive games in the process until losing to the Minnesota Freeze. Their string ended at the hands of the San Francisco Iron Maidens in 2016. A second women's division was added in 2015, featuring combined sides of teams what were unable to bring whole sides to Nationals.

Format[edit]

Since 2003, the men's Divisions One, Two, and Three have contained eight teams split into two groups of four teams. Each team plays the other three teams in their group once, playing one game on Saturday morning, another on Saturday afternoon, and a third on Sunday morning. The winners of each group advance to their division's grand final, which is held on Sunday afternoon. Division 4 has had several formats depending on the number of teams involved in the final. A fifth division was added in 2017 exclusively for "reserves," which are second teams of clubs with teams in higher divisions.

The Women's competition was divided into two divisions for the 2015 tournament. Division 1 contained five full teams, while Division 2 had four "combined" sides representing anywhere from two to five clubs each. Because of time and umpiring constraints, both women's divisions were played as a straight round-robin format with the most competition points being declared the champion. Head-to-head record, followed by percentage, is used to break ties. The 2016 Women's Division 1 competition retained the same format.

The top two men's divisions and Women's Division 1 are played as 18-a-side, which each team permitted to dress a maximum of 24 players. All teams in Divisions One and Men's Division Two must be single entity squads; they may not combine with other teams. Men's Division Three is played as 16-a-side or 18-a-side, with no restrictions on the number of players on the interchange bench. Division Four is played 14-a-side or 16-a-side, and Women's Division two is played 14- or 16-a-side, again with no limit to the number of players dressed per game.

All Divisions are subject to the "50-50 Rule", which require at least half of the players on the field at any one time to be "nationals" of the country that their team represents. Players of other origin are considered "non-nationals". Prior to 2009, the players were designated "Australian" and "non-Australian", with at least half of the players on the field needing to be "non-Australian".

In addition to premiership medals, awards are also given to outstanding players in each division. The Paul Roos Medal, named after the former AFL player and coach and former US Revolution coach, is awarded to each division's Best and Fairest. The Coopers Medal goes to the most consistent player in each division, while the Geoff Cann Medal goes to each of the Grand Final MVP's. The field umpires of the Grand Final are also awarded the Hayden Kennedy medal.

The USAFL had previously attempted to keep Nationals in the Midwestern part of the United States in order to keep travel costs down for teams on the East and West coasts and for all teams to be able to bring as many players as they can. At the league's 2015 annual general meeting, USAFL president Denis Ryan stated that he wanted to have the three regions, East, Central, and West, alternate hosting duties.

The 2017 USAFL Nationals are scheduled for October 21 and 22 in San Diego.

Yearly Results[edit]

Year Men's USAFL Div 1 Grand Final Women's USAFL Div 1 Grand Final
Premier G.B (Total) Runner Up G.B (Total) Premier G.B (Total) Runner Up G.B (Total)
1997 Cincinatti Dockers Icon.jpg Cincinnati Dockers AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg Nashville Kangaroos
1998 AFL Melbourne Icon.jpg Boston Demons 15.7 (97) Balmain colours.png Golden Gate Roos 1.1 (7)
1999 AFL Melbourne Icon.jpg Boston Demons 4.2 (26) Balmain colours.png Golden Gate Roos 3.2 (20)
2000 BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 3.4 (22) San Diego Lions 3.2 (20)
2001 San Diego Lions 10.4 (64) AFL Melbourne Icon.jpg Boston Demons 2.5 (17)
2002 BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 8.1 (49) San Diego Lions 0.2 (2)
2003 BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 8.5 (53) AFL Melbourne Icon.jpg Boston Demons 1.3 (9)
2004 BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 2.6 (18) AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg New York Magpies 1.1 (7)
2005 BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 4.8 (32) EssendonDesign.svg Milwaukee Bombers 1.1 (7) Woodville Warriors design.jpg Atlanta Kookaburras 6.5 (41) Florida Fusion 2.1 (13)
2006 San Diego Lions 4.9 (33) BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 2.0 (12) Woodville Warriors design.jpg Atlanta Kookaburras 3.10 (28) Pacific Coast Highwayers 0.0 (0)
2007 BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 3.3 (21) San Diego Lions 2.3 (15) Woodville Warriors design.jpg Atlanta Kookaburras 7.7 (49) AFL Hawthorn Icon.jpg Arizona Hawks 0.0 (0)
2008 Vancouver Cougars 4.4 (28) AFL West Coast Eagles Icon.png Baltimore Washington Eagles 2.0 (12) North Queensland colours.svg Calgary Kookaburras 4.3 (27) Woodville Warriors design.jpg Atlanta Kookaburras 3.4 (22)
2009 BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 2.5 (17) LezignanRLcolours.PNG Seattle Grizzlies 2.2 (14) EssendonDesign.svg Milwaukee Bombers 8.3 (51) North Queensland colours.svg Calgary Kookaburras 1.5 (11)
2010 AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg New York Magpies 4.4 (28) BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 1.1 (7) BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 3.1 (19) Calgary/Montréal 2.6 (18)
2011 BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 3.2 (20) AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg Calgary Kangaroos 0.5 (5) BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 3.7 (25) New York/Montréal 0.1 (1)
2012 Vacated (see below) BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 3.4 (22) Boston/Baltimore-Washington 0.0 (0)
2013 AFL Adelaide Icon.gif Austin Crows 4.2 (26) AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg Calgary Kangaroos 4.2 (25) BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 3.7 (25) San Francisco Iron Maidens 0.0 (0)
2014 AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg New York Magpies 2.4 (16) Saintscolours.png Orange County Bombers 2.1 (13) BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 2.3 (15) San Francisco/Portland/Arizona 0.4 (4)
2015 AFL Adelaide Icon.gif Austin Crows 4.4 (28) Saintscolours.png Orange County Bombers 2.4 (16) BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 1st AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg New York Magpies 2nd
2016 AFL Adelaide Icon.gif Austin Crows 6.3 (39) Balmain colours.png Golden Gate Roos 2.1 (13) Balmain colours.png San Francisco 1st BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 2nd

Note: Dallas 3.4 (22) defeated New York 3.2 (20). On October 30, 2012, the USAFL vacated the Division I National Championship after it was discovered that Dallas used a player who was active with Central Districts of the SANFL and joined the team without satisfying league requirements.

Year Men's USAFL Div 2 Grand Final Men's USAFL Div 3 Grand Final
Premier G.B (Total) Runner Up G.B (Total) Premier G.B (Total) Runner Up G.B (Total)
1999 AFL West Coast Eagles Icon.png Baltimore Washington Eagles 3.4 (22) Southern Crusaders* 1.4.10
2001 AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg New York Magpies 3.8 (26) Woodville Warriors design.jpg Atlanta Kookaburras 2.3 (15)
2002 Saintscolours.png Orange County Bombers 7.3 (45) Balmain colours.png Golden Gate Roos 2.3 (15) BurnieHawksDesign.PNG Philadelphia Hawks 3.8 (26) EssendonDesign.svg Milwaukee Bombers 2.2 (14)
2003 EssendonDesign.svg Milwaukee Bombers 4.2 (26) Balmain colours.png Golden Gate Roos 3.1 (19) AFL Port Adelaide 1997-2009 Icon.jpg Kansas City Power 6.7 (43) AFL Richmond Icon.jpg North Carolina Tigers 0.3 (3)
2004 AFL Hawthorn Icon.jpg Arizona Hawks 3.4 (22) BurnieHawksDesign.PNG Philadelphia Hawks 3.4 (20) Cincinatti Dockers Icon.jpg Cincinnati Dockers 8.5 (53) AFL Port Adelaide 1997-2009 Icon.jpg Kansas City Power 3.2 (20)
2005 Balmain colours.png Golden Gate Roos 7.3 (45) BurnieHawksDesign.PNG Philadelphia Hawks 1.4 (10) AFL fMinnesota freeze Icon.png Minnesota Freeze 4.3 (27) USAFL Baton Rouge Icon.jpg Baton Rouge Tigers 3.3 (21)
2006 AFL West Coast Eagles Icon.png Baltimore Washington Eagles 10.9 (69) AFL fMinnesota freeze Icon.png Minnesota Freeze 2.0 (12)      Las Vegas Gamblers 7.5 (47) USAFL Baton Rouge Icon.jpg Baton Rouge Tigers 5.1 (31)
2007 AFL fMinnesota freeze Icon.png Minnesota Freeze 3.5 (23) LezignanRLcolours.PNG Seattle Grizzlies 2.2 (14) CarltonDesign.png Saint Louis Blues 4.7 (31)      Las Vegas Gamblers 2.4 (16)
2008 LezignanRLcolours.PNG Seattle Grizzlies 3.4 (22) AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg Calgary Kangaroos 0.3 (3) AFL Port Adelaide 1997-2009 Icon.jpg Kansas City Power 3.8 (26) AFL Adelaide Icon.gif Austin Crows 1.2 (8)
2009 AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg Calgary Kangaroos 5.8 (38) EssendonDesign.svg Milwaukee Bombers 3.2 (20) AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg Dallas Magpies 8.3 (51) AFL Adelaide Icon.gif Austin Crows 1.2 (8)
2010 AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg Calgary Kangaroos 11.8 (74) AFL fMinnesota freeze Icon.png Minnesota Freeze 5.1 (34) AFL Adelaide Icon.gif Austin Crows 4.4 (28) AFL fort lauderdale Icon.png Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids 2.5 (17)
2011 AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg Dallas Magpies 8.6 (52) AFL Adelaide Icon.gif Austin Crows 0.5 (5) AFL Hawthorn Icon.jpg Arizona Hawks 5.2 (32) Woodville Warriors design.jpg Atlanta Kookaburras 3.1 (19)
2012 AFL fMinnesota freeze Icon.png Minnesota Freeze 1.6 (12) USAFL LA Dragons Icon.jpeg Los Angeles Dragons 0.3 (3) AFL Sydney Icon.jpg Chicago Swans 4.7 (31) LindenowSthDesign.png Columbus Jackaroos 3.4 (22)
2013 LindenowSthDesign.png Columbus Jackaroos 5.5 (35) USAFL LA Dragons Icon.jpeg Los Angeles Dragons 1.5 (11) USAFL Houston icon.jpg Houston Lonestars 3.5 (23) AFL Gold Coast Icon.jpg Sacramento Suns 0.1 (1)
2014 USAFL LA Dragons Icon.jpeg Los Angeles Dragons 11.3 (69) LindenowSthDesign.png Columbus Jackaroos 1.0 (6) AFL Gold Coast Icon.jpg Sacramento Suns 7.1 (43) BurnieHawksDesign.PNG Philadelphia Hawks 0.5 (5)
2015 AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg Quebec Saints 3.9 (27) AFL Gold Coast Icon.jpg Sacramento Suns 0.0 (0) Usafl portland.png Portland Steelheads 5.7 (37) Cincinatti Dockers Icon.jpg Cincinnati Dockers 1.3 (9)
2016 AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg Calgary Kangaroos 6.3 (39) LindenowSthDesign.png Columbus Jackaroos 0.3 (3) Usafl portland.png Portland Steelheads 7.4 (46) AFL Richmond Icon.jpg North Carolina Tigers 3.4 (22)

List of USAFL National Championship Premiers (Men)[edit]

Teams Premiers Runner Up Total Year(s) won Year(s) lost
BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 8 2 10 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
2007, 2009, 2011
2006, 2010
San Diego Lions 2 3 5 2001, 2006 2000, 2002, 2007
AFL Melbourne Icon.jpg Boston Demons 2 2 4 1998, 1999 2001, 2003
AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg New York Magpies 2 2 4 2010, 2014 2004, 2012
AFL Adelaide Icon.gif Austin Crows 3 0 2 2013, 2015, 2016
Cincinatti Dockers Icon.jpg Cincinnati Dockers 1 0 1 1997
Vancouver Cougars 1 0 1 2008

List of USAFL National Championship Premiers (Women)[edit]

Teams Premiers Runner Up Total Year(s) won Year(s) lost
BULLDOGSDesign.svg Denver Bulldogs 6 0 6 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
2015
Woodville Warriors design.jpg Atlanta Kookaburras 3 1 4 2005, 2006, 2007 2008
Balmain colours.png San Francisco 1 2 3 2016 2013, 2014
North Queensland colours.svg Calgary Kookaburras 1 1 2 2008 2009
EssendonDesign.svg Milwaukee Bombers 1 0 1 2009

See also[edit]

External links[edit]