Wikinews interviews Rich Mann and Kevin Smith of the United States Australian Football League about the upcoming National Championship

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

With the United States Australian rules football National Championship this weekend, Wikinews interviewed United States Australian Football League (USFooty) president Rich Mann, and Media Relations representative Kevin Smith.

The USAFL Nationals will feature teams from the United States and Canada. A 50/50 rule is being implemented for the tournament. This means that an American team can have no more than nine players who aren't Americans and a Canadian team no more than nine non-Canadians.

Australian rules football is played on a field 170 metres by 160 metres. The two teams consist of 18 players a side. Scores are quoted as goals-behinds (total).

According to USFooty, the tournament will attract over 1000 players. The tournament will have four divisions for men and one for woman.


Mason, Ohio, USA looking east

 ((Wikinews )) Where are the Nationals being played?

Rich Mann: Heritage Oak Park in Mason, Ohio (just north of Cincinnati)

Kevin Smith: This year's Nationals are being played in Mason, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati. Previous hosts have included; Las Vegas, Nevada; the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs; Nashville, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Fort Washington, Maryland (just outside of Washington, DC), just to name a few. All of the sites have a team affiliated with the region who was considered the "host" team. The host team this year is the Cincinnati Dockers

 ((Wikinews )) Are there suitable sized fields at this location?

RM: Yes, 5 fields

Australian rules football field messurements

KS: Yes. We have four divisions of men's competition ranging from developmental (division IV) to the top echelon of American play of the sport (division I), as well as one division of women's teams playing. Space is, of course, a concern, given the size of the field needed to field a full 18 side in Division's 1-3.

The developmental division, which tends to include new teams, and B-sides of squads participating in the higher divisions, will likely play 14 or 16 a side, with most being combined squads. Division IV, due to the smaller numbers, will be played on a smaller field, as will the women's division due to lower numbers - The field will be approximately 150 yards long and 110 wide. The women are likely to play 14 per side with the possibility of the occasional game played with 12 per side.

On top of all of that, there will also be free kids clinics held during the two day tournament.

It's important to have a full size field when fielding full squads, and given the fact that the games will take place over the two days this weekend, it's very important, when considering a site, that it be able to accommodate multiple full-size pitches.

 ((Wikinews )) How many teams are participating?

RM: 30 men's and 8 womens

KS: There are 24 full squads spanning the top three divisions.

The women's draw has seven teams fielding eight squads

And Division IV has eight teams that are largely combined squads - although the Baltimore/Washington Eagles are sending a full B squad that will require no combining with extras from other teams.

All in all, there are 40 squads that represent 42 different teams/regions across the US and Canada - counting the women's teams as separate entities from the men's.

  Divisions 1, 2 and 3 are 18's, mens Div 4 and womens are 14-16  

—Rich Mann, USAFL president

 ((Wikinews )) Who are the defending champions?

RM: Vancouver Mens Division One, Calgary womens

KS: Div I - Vancouver winners against Baltimore/Washington - 4.4.28 / 2.0.12

Div II - Seattle winners against Calgary - 3.4.22 / 0.3.3. Note, however, that Seattle will be competing in Div I this year.

Div III - Kansas City winners against St Louis/Austin - 3.8.26 / 1.2.8. In this division, Kansas City will play in division II this season and Austin will continue on in III while St. Louis is paired with Ohio Valley in Division IV.

Div IV - Ohio Valley winners against Seattle - 6.3.39 / 2.5.17

Women's - Calgary Kookaburra's (incidentally, this team has an A and B squad playing in the women's draw, and is the only women's team to field to full squads)

 ((Wikinews )) Are teams full 18 player teams?

RM: Divisions 1, 2 and 3 are 18's, mens Div 4 and womens are 14-16

File:NFL-Logo Flickr 293146700.jpg
An NFL style competition is possible in the future

KS: See the answer to question 2

 ((Wikinews )) Who are the sponsors of this event?

RM: COOPERS, Alice White/Constellation Wines, Warren County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Kings Island Resort, Brazenhead irish Pub and Makers Mark.

 ((Wikinews )) Are there any plans to have a competition similar to that of the NFL (with six or seven teams) in the future?

RM: Possibly, still in early stages of strategic planning


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.