On the recent 'Outside 50' podcast with Tom Ellis the USA Revolution Head Coach, we learnt things are changing up in a big way for the USA Revolution and the International Cup in Queensland Australia beginning in late July. With the increased opportunities for US players to play in Australia, Tom and his fellow coaches have quite the dilemma on their hands trying to select the best team for the 2020 IC.
"It is a great thing to have happen really for the team" Tom said. With nearly a dozen USA players now playing in Australia, mostly in the Melbourne suburban leagues, its making the selection process to make the USA Revolution team more complicated but more exciting at the same time.
Tom first played with the Denver Bulldogs in 1999 and has been a part of the Bulldogs legendary eight Div 1 championship wins, the last being in 2011. Tom has also been a player himself in two International Cups and this year will be his second time visiting Australia as Head Coach of the USA Revolution.
With a Revolution camp coming up in late February in Houston Texas and a separate tour planned to Croatia this year, headed up by Kyle Strenski, the USA men's team development is certainly going ahead full steam. There are still player spots up for grabs too with the final team of 28 and 2 emergencies to be named after the late February camp in Houston. From then on it is fundraising and ensuring players are prepared physically and mentally for the two week tour on the Sunshine Coast of southern Queensland. A stark contrast from every previous IC which have been held in Melbourne and notably under wintry conditions.
There is no opportunity to play on the MCG this year, but the final of the International Cup will be curtain raisers and curtain closer at a Brisbane Lions v North Melbourne Kangaroos game at the GABBA on August 8th
You can follow along with the Revolution team in the lead up to the IC on their Facebook page here.
Pretty much under the radar a new Women's team has emerged just outside of Denver in Colorado, the Centennial Tigers. They have been established largely on the growth of their now neighbors the women's team in the Denver Bulldogs, and are looking to establish themselves as a competitive outfit very quickly in women's footy in the USA. The team formed way back in October 2019, lead by Denver player and board member Sara Rohner. They are the 46th member club of the USAFL.
To give you a roadmap perspective maybe, Centennial is about a 20-30 minute drive south of Denver, so not that far, and home to about 100,000 people. The Denver area has a population of around 2.8 million, which makes it the 28th most populous city in the USA. (Only 28th? I can hear some Aussie saying ;)
Recently they announced their first Head Coach, Destry Gillette. Destry played all of his footy career with the Denver Bulldogs up the road, debuting in 2000, and was a member of the Bulldogs when they strung together several Div 1 Premiership wins in the early 2000s. The appointment as Head Coach however will herald his first active return to the sport after a several knee surgeries.
This week Sara Rohner told USFootNews though the decision to break away from the Denver Bulldogs wasn't easy, the time and effort to continue with the club when you have to drive multiple hours in peak hour traffic just to practice, had some to do with it. Sara also reminded us this isn't the first time a club has split off to start a team and in fact in the early 2000s there was a split off from the Denver Bulldog men’s team in Colorado Springs, called the Rocky Mountain Saints. That split didn't last long but others have followed in recent years, the Minnesota Freeze women's team split off to form the North Star Blue Ox, also a standalone women's team, and on the men's teams two more recent splits were the Arizona Hawks to Arizona Outlaws and the DC Eagles amicable split to form the Baltimore Dockers to become their own team.
From their website, the Centennial Tigers have a clear message to their purpose.
The Centennial Tigers were established on a foundation of core values: Tenacity, Integrity, Grit, Empowerment, Respect and Sportsmanship (TIGERS). While winning is always fun, our main desire is to empower women of all ages through sport. We’ve witnessed transformations in countless women by helping improve fitness, building self confidence, and encouraging each woman to be herself.
Just recently the Centennial Tigers were recognized at the Colorado Women’s Sports Fund Association (CWSFA) grant banquet in Fort Collins. The Tigers received a $500 grant from the organization for their "dedication to growing women’s participation in Colorado sports".
Already numbering a solid group of players up to 30 in all Sara Rohner told us, from the areas of Centennial, Greenwood Village, Englewood, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Parker, Castle Rock and Elizabeth cities/towns, the Tigers look to stamp their mark on the USAFL's women's footy soon. There is a chance many will see them in action first at the Central Regionals in Dallas and then most definitely at the USAFL Western Regionals, which is across town virtually in the opposite direction from Denver, in Westminster CO.
You can read more about the Tigers and follow them on social media by visiting their website at https://centennialtigers.com
The reigning USAFL National Champions the Austin Crows had little trouble in ensuring they will go into the 2019 Championships as hot favorites by winning the Central Regional Championships in Denver this past weekend. First up they accounted for the USAFL Div 2 Champions the Minnesota Freeze by a stunning 86 points in a massive first game shut out, the final scores Austin 13.8.86 to Minnesota 0.0.00. The Freeze wanted a yardstick for their move up into Div 1, well I think they got it. The Freeze who did not attend the 2018 Central Regionals were sent home without a win, after also failing to make that much of an impression against host team the Denver Bulldogs, go down 23 to 81.
So Crows then faced the host team the Denver Bulldogs in the afternoon heat for the main prize. Traveling in huge numbers the Austin outfit were quite ready for the task. Denver although with the luxury of being in their home field surroundings, were no match for the Crows. In the end it was a 36 point victory for Austin, 8.8.56 to Denver 3.2.20.
Austin now have a month off before facing Dallas and Oklahoma in Dallas. Things are looking pretty good though for the Texas leaders in 2019.
The Denver Bulldogs traveled up to Des Moines for the annual 80/35 10's tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. The say road trips build character, well this one in 4 mini vans, and 10 hours later, we are sure there was at least a load of good times. The games for the Bulldogs did not go to plan however. Missing several key players the Dogs went down in the first game to host club the Des Moines Roosters, who put on a powerful display. Later the Denver regained some composure to test the Chicago Swans to about a 4 goal difference, however fell short of a win this time.
Along with the men's team several women also traveled and took on the experienced Minnesota women and the newer Chicago women's team. Neither was the result they were hoping for, but experiences like these makes the difference and builds confidence for suture encounters.
Lady Bulldogs 0.1.1
Minnesota Women 13.10.88
Lady Bulldogs 3.7.25
Chicago Women 10.7.67
Want read more, check out the full article on www.denverbulldogs.com
The Denver Reserves rolled into the Central Regionals tournament as the lowest-ranked men’s team. Last year at the USAFL National Championships they finishing runner-up in the Division 5 comp. However on the weekend they went 3-0 to sweep the Div title away from the Nashville Kangaroos. The Bulldogs Reserves team was a mixed group of club veterans and new rookies. With wins against Oklahoma and Dallas early in the day, both fairly good teams, the stage was set for the final against the Kangaroos who had also won their two earlier games.
The Denver team however showed their class in the late afternoon final, running out winners by just 5 points in a very close affair.
Denver Bulldogs 3.1.19
Nashville Kangaroos 2.2.14
Read up more on the Denver Bullldogs website here. www.denverbulldogs.com