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. A fifth division was added in 2017 exclusively for "reserves," which are second teams of clubs with teams in higher divisions. In 2017, all five divisions contained eight teams split into two groups of four teams.

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 team finishing with the most competition points being declared the champion. Percentage (points scored/points allowed) is used to break ties. The 2016 Women's Division 1 competition retained the same format. In 2017, women's Division 1 contained eight teams split into two groups of four teams, whereas Division 2 included five teams playing a straight round-robin format.

The top three men's divisions and women's Division 1 are played as 18-a-side. 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 if both teams agree. Division Four is played 14-a-side or 16-a-side, and women's Division two is played 14- or 16-a-side. As of 2017, in all divisions each team is permitted to dress a maximum of 24 players.

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 umpires of the Grand Final in each division are each 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.

Locations[edit]

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 Cincinnati Dockers Nashville Kangaroos
1998 Boston Demons 15.7 (97) Golden Gate Roos 1.1 (7)
1999 Boston Demons 4.2 (26) Golden Gate Roos 3.2 (20)
2000 Denver Bulldogs 3.4 (22) San Diego Lions 3.2 (20)
2001 San Diego Lions 10.4 (64) Boston Demons 2.5 (17)
2002 Denver Bulldogs 8.1 (49) San Diego Lions 0.2 (2)
2003 Denver Bulldogs 8.5 (53) Boston Demons 1.3 (9)
2004 Denver Bulldogs 2.6 (18) New York Magpies 1.1 (7)
2005 Denver Bulldogs 4.8 (32) Milwaukee Bombers 1.1 (7) Atlanta Kookaburras 6.5 (41) Florida Fusion 2.1 (13)
2006 San Diego Lions 4.9 (33) Denver Bulldogs 2.0 (12) Atlanta Kookaburras 3.10 (28) Pacific Coast Highwayers 0.0 (0)
2007 Denver Bulldogs 3.3 (21) San Diego Lions 2.3 (15) Atlanta Kookaburras 7.7 (49) Arizona Hawks 0.0 (0)
2008 Vancouver Cougars 4.4 (28) Baltimore Washington Eagles 2.0 (12) Calgary Kookaburras 4.3 (27) Atlanta Kookaburras 3.4 (22)
2009 Denver Bulldogs 2.5 (17) Seattle Grizzlies 2.2 (14) Milwaukee Bombers 8.3 (51) Calgary Kookaburras 1.5 (11)
2010 New York Magpies 4.4 (28) Denver Bulldogs 1.1 (7) Denver Bulldogs 3.1 (19) Calgary/Montréal 2.6 (18)
2011 Denver Bulldogs 3.2 (20) Calgary Kangaroos 0.5 (5) Denver Bulldogs 3.7 (25) New York/Montréal 0.1 (1)
2012 Vacated (see below) Denver Bulldogs 3.4 (22) Boston/Baltimore-Washington 0.0 (0)
2013 Austin Crows 4.2 (26) Calgary Kangaroos 4.2 (25) Denver Bulldogs 3.7 (25) San Francisco Iron Maidens 0.0 (0)
2014 New York Magpies 2.4 (16) Orange County Bombers 2.1 (13) Denver Bulldogs 2.3 (15) San Francisco/Portland/Arizona 0.4 (4)
2015 Austin Crows 4.4 (28) Orange County Bombers 2.4 (16) Denver Bulldogs 1st New York Magpies 2nd
2016 Austin Crows 6.3 (39) Golden Gate Roos 2.1 (13) San Francisco Iron Maidens 1st Denver Bulldogs 2nd
2017 Golden Gate Roos 6.4 (40) Los Angeles Dragons 2.2 (14) San Francisco Iron Maidens 2.2 (14) Denver Bulldogs 1.0 (6)

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 Baltimore Washington Eagles 3.4 (22) Southern Crusaders* 1.4.10
2001 New York Magpies 3.8 (26) Atlanta Kookaburras 2.3 (15)
2002 Orange County Bombers 7.3 (45) Golden Gate Roos 2.3 (15) Philadelphia Hawks 3.8 (26) Milwaukee Bombers 2.2 (14)
2003 Milwaukee Bombers 4.2 (26) Golden Gate Roos 3.1 (19) Kansas City Power 6.7 (43) North Carolina Tigers 0.3 (3)
2004 Arizona Hawks 3.4 (22) Philadelphia Hawks 3.4 (20) Cincinnati Dockers 8.5 (53) Kansas City Power 3.2 (20)
2005 Golden Gate Roos 7.3 (45) Philadelphia Hawks 1.4 (10) Minnesota Freeze 4.3 (27) Baton Rouge Tigers 3.3 (21)
2006 Baltimore Washington Eagles 10.9 (69) Minnesota Freeze 2.0 (12) Las Vegas Gamblers 7.5 (47) Baton Rouge Tigers 5.1 (31)
2007 Minnesota Freeze 3.5 (23) Seattle Grizzlies 2.2 (14) Saint Louis Blues 4.7 (31) Las Vegas Gamblers 2.4 (16)
2008 Seattle Grizzlies 3.4 (22) Calgary Kangaroos 0.3 (3) Kansas City Power 3.8 (26) Austin Crows 1.2 (8)
2009 Calgary Kangaroos 5.8 (38) Milwaukee Bombers 3.2 (20) Dallas Magpies 8.3 (51) Austin Crows 1.2 (8)
2010 Calgary Kangaroos 11.8 (74) Minnesota Freeze 5.1 (34) Austin Crows 4.4 (28) Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids 2.5 (17)
2011 Dallas Magpies 8.6 (52) Austin Crows 0.5 (5) Arizona Hawks 5.2 (32) Atlanta Kookaburras 3.1 (19)
2012 Minnesota Freeze 1.6 (12) Los Angeles Dragons 0.3 (3) Chicago Swans 4.7 (31) Columbus Jackaroos 3.4 (22)
2013 Columbus Jackaroos 5.5 (35) Los Angeles Dragons 1.5 (11) Houston Lonestars 3.5 (23) Sacramento Suns 0.1 (1)
2014 Los Angeles Dragons 11.3 (69) Columbus Jackaroos 1.0 (6) Sacramento Suns 7.1 (43) Philadelphia Hawks 0.5 (5)
2015 Quebec Saints 3.9 (27) Sacramento Suns 0.0 (0) Portland Steelheads 5.7 (37) Cincinnati Dockers 1.3 (9)
2016 Calgary Kangaroos 6.3 (39) Columbus Jackaroos 0.3 (3) Portland Steelheads 7.4 (46) North Carolina Tigers 3.4 (22)
2017 Quebec Saints 5.6 (36) Orange County Bombers 1.1 (7) Seattle Grizzlies 4.3 (27) San Diego Lions 3.2 (20)

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

Teams Premiers Runner Up Total Year(s) won Year(s) lost
Denver Bulldogs 8 2 10 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
2007, 2009, 2011
2006, 2010
Austin Crows 3 0 2 2013, 2015, 2016
San Diego Lions 2 3 5 2001, 2006 2000, 2002, 2007
Boston Demons 2 2 4 1998, 1999 2001, 2003
New York Magpies 2 2 4 2010, 2014 2004, 2012
Golden Gate Roos 1 3 4 2017 1998, 1999, 2016
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
Denver Bulldogs 6 2 8 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
2015
2016*, 2017
Atlanta Kookaburras 3 1 4 2005, 2006, 2007 2008
San Francisco 2 2 4 2016, 2017 2013, 2014
Calgary Kookaburras 1 1 2 2008 2009
Milwaukee Bombers 1 0 1 2009

*In 2016, the Bulldogs finished second in a round robin where no Grand Final was played.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l US Footy Ten Year Commemorative Book (PDF). USAFL. p. 6. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  2. ^ Carpenter, Les (October 8, 2009). "Baltimore Washington Eagles Australian Rules Football Club Is Now More About Winning Than Drinking". Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  3. ^ Hossana, Paida (March 28, 2011). "Australian Rules Football Club - Sacramento Press". Sacramento Press. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  4. ^ Lieburn, Sara (November 11, 2010). "MBA student finds 'footy' success". news.wisc.edu. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  5. ^ "Q&A with Saints linebacker Craig Robertson". NewOrleansSaints.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  6. ^ "Beyond Bounds: Minn. Squad Nets National Football Title - Australian Style". CBS Minnesota. October 26, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Australia Football in America". Finding Houston. October 17, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  8. ^ Bishop, Amy (6 May 2014). "What Is Australian Rules Football? - Sacramento Press". Sacramento Press. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  9. ^ Rine, Jessica (June 10, 2015). "Sacramento Australian Football League to host the Western Regional Tournament in Davis". Sactown Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  10. ^ Walker, Chris (October 13, 2015). "The Lady Bulldogs Are the Most Winning Team in Sports-Crazed Denver". Westword. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  11. ^ Neumann, Thomas (October 17, 2016). "Mason Cox Q&A: Surgery, finals and citizenship". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  12. ^ Neumann, Thomas (October 18, 2016). "North American clubs put their best footy forward". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  13. ^ "News from the Consulate". Australian Consulate-General, Los Angeles. Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. November 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017. 

External links[edit]