20 Feb, 2018
WELCOME TO THE MAJOR LEAGUE FOOTY - 2017-'18 WINTER LEAGUE SEASON!
MLF DEPLOYS AUSBALL FOR DEVELOPMENT
Major League Footy has announced an initiative to leverage the Ausball format of non-contact, co-ed footy in an effort to enhance the recruitment and growth of Australian Rules Football in MLF youth, scholastic and collegiate programs.
Ausball provides a fun, standardized environment for participants of all ages to discover our great sport, while developing footy skills and teamwork. These skills are essential, should players choose to continue to play at a higher level.
Under the guidance of Ausball orignators Denis Ryan and Matt Bishop, Ausball has long been a part of club footy in the United States, and Major League Footy is very proud to make Ausball part of our development, education and youth programs going forward.
The Ausball Academy website will re-launch soon, while MLF clubs in St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Los Angeles will immediately make the Ausball format part of their own clubs’ development efforts.
All MLF clubs will operate a league-wide Ausball program under standardize rules going forward.
Come have a kick!
MAJOR LEAGUE FOOTY WELCOMES FT. LAUDERDALE
Major League Footy is pleased to announce the addition of the Ft. Lauderdale Fighting Squids to the MLF Eastern Conference, effective immediately.
Founded in 2005, the Squids have experienced multiple success on and off the ground, and enter the MLF 2018 competition as the independent league’s most tenured club.
As the 2018 summer schedule is being finalized, the Squids will compete with teams in the Central Florida region, along with the new Jacksonville Demons club.
The Squids will also travel along with the St. Petersburg club to face the start-up Los Angeles squad. That match is currently slated for Saturday, July 14 at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles.
In addition, the Ft. Lauderdale club will also bring their Miami Saints side into the competition for a limited number of matches.
Selected members of the Ft. Lauderdale Fighting Squids will also help represent the USA at the Latin America Footy 9s Championships in Bogota, Colombia, October 6, 2018.
Be sure to keep up to date with the club’s full schedule as the 2018 summer Premiership slate is announced in the coming days.
Major League Footy is an independent competition of 9-a-side footy in the United States, and matches are played on American football (gridiron) fields.
Major League Footy is committed to the growth of Australian Rules Football at all levels in the United States, and players are not charged ‘dues’ to participate.
The league is committed to scheduling head-to-head competitions between its clubs, while tournament-style events are merit-based events.
The Ft. Lauderdale Fighthing Squids train at Croissant Park in Ft. Lauderdale, and most matches are played at Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium in Lauderhill.
Major League Footy is pleased to announce that Four ‘N Twenty Bowl 2018 is coming to American Integrity Stadium at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, Saturday, March 31. Game time is TBA.
The Inaugural Four ‘N Twenty Bowl at American Integrity Stadium will feature MLF clubs battling for the Winter Season Premiership at the fabulous purpose-built soccer facility at Premier Sports Campus.
Four ‘N Twenty USA / USAAPI support the St. Petersburg Swans of Major League Footy, and the Swans offer hot Four ‘N Twenty pies at all 2018 Twilight Series home games.
American Integrity Insurance is one of Florida’s most respected and fastest-growing insurers, and has partnered with Premier Sports Campus on naming rights for the stadium at PSC.
Located in Lakewood Ranch (Sarasota/Bradenton), Premier Sports Campus is one of the nation’s leading multi-event sports facilities, and has hosted soccer, rugby and Australian Rules Football matches and tournaments, plus much more.
The 2018 Four ‘N Twenty Bowl will be broadcast live – broadcast details will be announced as soon as available.
SUNS LOOK TO BURN WAY BACK FROM SPOON DANGER
If the Suncoast Suns – 2016-17 MLF Grand Finalists – are to climb their way out of contention for this season’s wooden spoon, their effort will need to begin tomorrow.
The Suncoast Suns (0-1) host Orlando Saturday, February 17 at 11 AM in St. Petersburg.
Currently sitting at 9th on the MLF ladder after a thorough 48-point lashing from contending StarfishFC January 13, the Suns can scratch all the way to 5th – and suddenly climb into the mix – with a record-leveling win tomorrow at Crescent Lake Common.
The Suns will enter the contest with bottom-dwelling Orlando with an unsightly point differential of their own, and will be without captain Kenneth Scheidt for this week’s match.
Orlando (0-1) is likewise coming off a massive loss early in the season, but both clubs still have time to right the ship and get back to level.
That effort begins tomorrow following a joint training session. Training begins at 10 AM, with the match following at 11 AM. Training drills will be streamed lived on Periscope (Twitter).
TWINS: JACKSONVILLE PARTNERS WITH WAAFL’S OSBORNE PARK
As the Demons look to hit the training ground next month, they’ll have an eye on importing the best of OPAFC’s spirited club culture, while also working to create future opportunities for import players to play MLF football in the United States.
Major League Footy is an independent league of Australian Football in the United States, and there are no player list restrictions on Australian-born players.
Major League Footy and the Jacksonville Demons are eager to provide opportunities for all players interested in playing Aussie Rules in the USA.
THIS WEEK’S ‘RUSHED POINTS’ PODCAST
BIG FIRST HALF LIFTS ST. PETERSBURG; 127-95
In the season’s highest-scoring match to date, the Bloods – propelled by veteran midfielder and former Sandringham trainee Jason Blackbourn, promising rookie tall Jesse Hayes and the always-steady Aaron Crittenden and Austen Kugler – posted a devastating 6.5 onslaught in a furious fifteen minutes that seemingly all but decided the affair.
Philadelphia-region natives Dustin Jones, Pat Bilder and Dionne Jones regrouped at the big break, however, closing to within ten points early in the final stanza.
The aggressive play in midfield created opportunities for the Green, with Kyle Roun, Kenneth Scheidt and David Senko all notching multiple majors in the second half.
A Blackbourn supergoal and a series of neutralizing 70-yard clearances from Jake Keglor as the clock became a factor iced the affair.
The Kangas (2-0) will have an opportunity to respond Saturday, February 10, when they host Pasco BlackDog in an 11 AM start at Crescent Lake.
OLSON NAMED WESTERN CONFERENCE PRESIDENT
American footy veteran and long-time advocate of Australian Football in the United States Chris Olson has been named President of the Major League Footy Western Conference.
In his new role, Olson will lead the effort to recruit and develop players and teams in California and the Western United States.
Olson – a spirited advocate of 9-a-side footy played on the gridiron – founded Major League Aussie Rules in 2005, after having previously served as the USAFL Western Regional Vice President, and California Australian Football League, from 1999 to 2004.
He is also a former player of the USA Revolution Men’s National Team, and served as assistant coach to Paul Roos for the 1999 squad.
Olson will work directly with the Los Angeles Warriors‘ Kevin Moore in preparing for competitive play in 2018-19.
MLF trainings will begin in Southern California in March 2018, and a player recruitment combine is currently slated for late April.
All 2018 US-resident Western Conference recruits will be eligible for selection to the Latin America 9s Championships in Bogota, Colombia, in October 2018.
Western Conference clubs are expected to begin competitive play for the 2018-19 Major League Footy Premiership Season.
AMERICAN FOOTY SHOW, EPISODE 2
In this week’s episode, hosts Brittani Stetina and Miro Gladovic discuss footy’s media presence in the USA, American Footy Star Billy Mallard’s Sandringham journey, the WAFL and much more.
AMERICAN FOOTY SHOW DEBUTS
American Footy Show debuts, as hosts Brittani Stetina and Miro Gladovic discuss Miro’s American Footy Star project, Brittani’s introduction to AFL at the MCG and more. New episodes presented by Major League Footy every Monday!
#DTWD! JACKSONVILLE FOOTY GETS LOCAL ADMIN
The quest to build a local footy club for Duval and Northeast Florida is now in full swing, as the Jacksonville Demons have attracted a local club owner/operator.
With Perth native and footy veteran David Meide at the helm, the Demons are now off and running, with recruiting and sponsorships the order of the day.
The club will begin training this Spring, en route to full entry into the Major League Footy 2018-19 competition.
The Demons brand may also see a re-fresh toward an ‘elevated retro’ look reminiscent of the 70-80s VFL…
The Jacksonville region is fertile new ground for Major League Footy, and key in expanding Aussie Rules football in an ex-pat rugby hotbed and major port of call for Royal Australian Navy personnel.
LADDER TIGHTENS AS TIGERS RUN PAST SWANS
The St. Petersburg Swans’ hold on the catbird seat of the Winter Ladder has suddenly become a precarious perch, indeed.
Looking for a win to keep them comfortable atop the Major League Footy 2017-18 table, St. Petersburg instead found themselves in what promises to be a real scrap as the season heads into the home stretch, as Lakeland ran out thirty-point winners Saturday in St. Pete.
With young guns David Senko, Kyle Roun and Nick Whiteside leading the way, the Tigers evened their record at 1-1, using a big third quarter to turn back the Bloods (2-1).
A key Supergoal from Whiteside punctuated the stanza, providing essentially the knock-out blow for the Tigers.
With the result, Starfish FC have an opportunity to move past the Swans on the ladder when they host the Clearwater Kangas Saturday in St. Petersburg. First bounce is 11 AM, following a weekly combined training session on the Common at Crescent Lake.
NFL, CFL VET ACQUIRES MLF LOS ANGELES FRANCHISE
Former NFL and CFL player – and current NFL player management agent – Kevin Moore has acquired the Major League Footy Los Angeles franchise, slated to begin play with the 2018-19 season.
Moore, a graduate of Southern Oregon University, began his pro career with the CFL’s BC Lions before moving to the Los Angeles Raiders and San Diego Chargers.
While an injury abruptly ended his playing career, Moore went on to become one of the most successful high school coaches in Southern California, helping lead the Culver City Centaurs to four league championships, while producing eight Division I scholarship players.
After two years as Defensive Coordinator at Serra High School, Moore was named Head Coach at Inglewood High School, leading the Sentinels to three league championships.
As founder and president of True Definition Sports LLC, Moore represents 11 current NFL players.
Under Moore’s leadership, the Los Angeles Warriors will immediately begin recruiting and training preparation with an eye on competing in the 2018-19 Major League Footy season.
On entering Major League Footy, Moore has also secured the operating rights to the Anaheim Hawks, and a further announcement on ownership of companion clubs in Southern California is expected shortly.
Each new side is now tasked with recruiting a 15-man playing list and organizing training to begin in Spring 2018.
All four Western Conference clubs are expected to enter Major League Footy Premiership Season play beginning with the 2018-19 campaign, November 2018-March 2019.
Major League Footy is an independent league of 9-a-side Australian Football, played on a gridiron field, and with a schedule coinciding with the traditional off-season of the sport.
With this announcement, the Warriors will soon unveil an enhanced online presence at warriorsfooty.us
BIG SECOND HALF FUELS ‘FISH; 66-18
With three new recruits making their Florida footy debuts, the St. Petersburg Starfish overcame a tight first half contest to run out 66-18 winners over the hosting Suncoast Suns Saturday in St. Pete.
With blustery game conditions after an extended joint training, a low-scoring affair seemed in the cards, as the two sides traded blows throughout the first 15 minutes, with the ‘Fish up 24-18 at the break.
The second half would tell another story, as the Suns became the first side in MLF competition to be shut-out over the course the second half, with St. Pete notching seven majors to cruise to the finish line.
MEDIA AGENCY SEES UPSIDE IN MLF FOOTY
Major League Footy is pleased to announce that Upside Advisors, a national sports and entertainment media agency with offices in Colorado and Florida, will represent Major League Footy regarding future broadcast, digital and other media opportunities, including national sponsorships.
This representation became effective January 1, 2018, as MLF and Upside engage new opportunities for the growth of Australian Football in the United States.
The team at Upside works with properties to identify business opportunities involving the convergence of traditional channels with digital media.
The brand principals at Upside have or currently provides consultation and services for: the America East Conference; American Hockey League, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the ECHL, Melbourne-based FanHub, the Ivy League and Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment.
STATEMENT ON MLF AND THE USAFL
The people of Major League Footy are passionate and dedicated to growing our great sport in the United States, and we look forward to working with everyone in the overall footy community in creating a new pathway for competitive footy.
While we are no longer associated within the organizational structure of the USAFL, we wholeheartedly support and acknowledge the USAFL’s twenty-year efforts to develop the sport in accordance with the traditions of Australian club culture in a non-profit model.
The USAFL is comprised of amazing people – nearly all volunteers – who devote themselves to our great sport, day-in and day-out. That can never be overstated.
Major League Footy is independent of the USAFL, which is the currently-recognized sanctioning body of the sport in the United States.
The business model of Major League Footy differs from the USAFL’s non-profit model, as it is based on the long-standing norms for American professional and semi-professional sports.
That business model is fused with an intent to focus only on the format of game-play best suited for American playing facilities, player availability, travel and the like – and is the model the St. Petersburg / Tampa Bay club has operated under since 2014.
As MLF continues gameplay in its second season this weekend, we remain steadfast in our hope that the American landscape of the greatest team sport in the world will see room for new approaches and efforts to always cooperatively grow our game. Together.
FOOTY 9s: AUSSIE RULES FOR THE GRIDIRON
With Major League Footy set to begin its second season on 18 November when St. Peterbsurg hosts arch rivals Orlando, the league rolls out new sides and new opportunities as the grass-roots effort to grow Australian Rules football in the States marches on.
As developed by Melbourne-based Australian Rules International, Footy9s is a fast-paced, action-packed version of Aussie Rules, intended for play on a gridiron (American) football field.
While Major League Footy clubs now have over 40 matches in the books in various game play configurations, the founding club’s home ground has always presented its own series of quirks making other forms of footy a challenging proposition.
Built in 1949, the St. Petersburg Swans‘ home ground – Four ‘N Twenty Field at Campbell Park – features a seating capacity of 440 in grandstands located tight to the field of play.
Also, perimeters on the east and west end zones are also close-in, making big, booming kicks from midfield an almost-certain delay in play, good kick or not.
Those quirks – while helping the ground’s mystique as the Swans’ ‘friendly confines’ – also necessitated an adoption of game play rules suited to the stadium itself.
The Footy 9s format meets those needs, while still preserving the excitement and fun of the best of footy.
The game is fast and high-scoring, but with safeguards to be sure it’s not ‘out of hand’ scoring, or interminable stoppages in game play.
All of the highlight-reel action you’d expect to see in a traditional Aussie Rules contest remain as the soul of Major League Footy and Footy 9s – now tailor-made for American tastes. And facilities.
Check out this video for a quick look at the birth of Footy 9s in Melbourne:
SHOWDOWN AT LAKEWOOD RANCH, MARCH 24
MLF CHAMPIONSHIP GAME COMING TO AMERICAN INTEGRITY STADIUM –
Major League Footy has announced that the 2018 MLF Championship Game will be held Saturday, March 24, 2018 at American Integrity Stadium at Premier Sports Campus.
The state-of-the art soccer-specific stadium is located in Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton/Sarasota), Florida, and is convenient to the entire West Central and SW Florida regions.
The 2018 Major League Footy Championship Game will match the two top-seeded teams from the MLF First Division, based on results and percentages.
The match will be the first-ever footy match at the main stadium at Premier Sports Campus, which also hosted the USAFL National Tournament in 2016.
PSC hosts hundreds of sporting events annually, with over 200,000 visitors to the acclaimed campus participating or attending events yearly.
American Integrity Insurance (AI) is a premier Florida-based property insurance provider and official naming rights partner of the Premier Sports Campus stadium facility, which was christened in October 2017.
JONES LEADS ST. PETE TO OPENING WIN
St. Pete’s Dustin Jones helped fuel a prodigious offensive attack in the 2017-18 Major League Footy Florida Winter Season Opener, as the Swans ran out 16.9.105 – 5.6.36 winners over Orlando, Saturday at Rollbotto Oval at Crescent Lake Common in St. Petersburg.
Looking to build on the momentum of a 45-point pre-season win over the Lakeland Tigers, the Swans attacked from the first ball-up, racing to a 4.5 margin before Orlando notched a major just prior to the first break.
Jones, back from the US Men’s National Team’s positive showing at the AFL International Cup in Melbourne, was again seemingly everywhere on the 100 yard gridiron-size field, directing traffic and moving the ball forward throughout the contest.
Down but not out, Orlando battled back in the second stanza, kicking the first two majors before Aaron Crittenden and Miro Gladovic struck again just before the big break.
St. Pete held a 33-point advantage at the big break.
Playing under AXFL rules for the second time in the early goings of the 2017-18 Winter Season, Orlando was again able to slow the Swans’ offense in the third quarter – keeping things close with pressure from Benjamin Walker and Pat Bilder – as the sides entered the final 10-minute period.
While Orlando entered that final frame still withing striking range, Jones and Co. again let loose the scoring fireworks, breaking the proceedings wide open in a 32-2 fourth quarter result.
The sides will meet again Saturday, December 9 at 7PM at Four ‘N Twenty Field at Campbell Park in downtown St. Petersburg.
RIVALRY RENEWED: ST. PETE, ORLANDO TANGLE IN MLF OPENER
On their march to last season’s flag, the Swans overcame an early shock loss, got their affairs in order after the Holiday break, and overcame a previously-undefeated Suncoast squad to take the top of the ladder.
Orlando didn’t see things turn out nearly as well, trudging to a winless campaign that saw them mired at the bottom of the ladder all season.
They’ll be seeking a different result this season, and an opening bout with last season’s Premiers is the perfect venue to get 2017-18 off on the right foot.
Buoyed by a 45-point win in their November 4 pre-season debut against the expansion Lakeland Tigers, St. Pete saw flashes of offensive dominance that characterized the club’s 2016 USAFL season.
The match is presented by Rollbotto, and will air live worldwide on RadioStPete – now entering its third season as the official broadcast partner of the St. Petersburg Swans.
Fans can listen live for free at radiostpete.com, or download the RadioStPete app for iOS and Android.
Rich Libero returns with the play-by-play, with Miro Gladovic on color commentary. Game time weather in St. Petersburg is expected to be sunny, with a ball-up temperature of 77 degrees.
FOOTY GETS UP & RUNNING IN JACKSONVILLE
Major League Footy is pleased to announce new local administration has been secured for the expansion Jacksonville Demons, the newest addition to the Florida winter competition.
Representing Greater Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, the Demons will play a limited training schedule in 2017-’18, and will join with a full match schedule for the Major League Footy 2018-’19 campaign.
For the club’s 2017-’18 training season, the Demons will train at Baymeadows Regional Park in Deerwood, near the campus of the University of North Florida.
Training schedule and information will be available shortly on the club’s website
PRODUCTION SET TO BEGIN FOR AMERICAN FOOTY SHOW
Production will begin Friday, November 10 on American Footy Show – an exciting new look at footy with an International – and sometimes distinctly American – perspective.
Featuring footy news, analysis and commentary, player interviews and much more – American Footy Show connects the personalities and action from around Major League Footy with the global footy scene.
With hosts Miro Gladovic and Rich Libero, American Footy Show figures to be a ‘must-watch’ event for fans of Major League Footy – and footy everywhere!
NEW MLF LOGO DESIGNED IN AUSTRALIA BY BLACKCHROME
Major League Footy has unveiled a significant revamp of the league’s logo concept and branding, as re-imagined by the in-house artists at Blackchrome Sportswear, the official custom jumper, shorts and socks provider to Major League Footy.
The logo is captures the spirit, fight and tenacity of American footy, and will appear on all Blackchrome-produced jumpers and kits worn by MLF teams.
Blackchrome Sportswear is an Australian company that specializes in the design and manufacture of custom sportswear, and all MLF kits will feature full sublimation.
Blackchrome Sportswear and Aussie Sports USA are Presenting Partners of Major League Footy.
GLADOVIC NAMED DIRECTOR OF PRO PLAYER DEVELOPMENT
Long-time FIFA player agent and international sports consultant Miro Gladovic has been named Director of Pro Player Development for Major League Footy.
In his role with MLF, Gladovic will leverage decades of player representation and sports industry experience – as well as his leading role in his innovative American Footy Star concept – to create opportunities for MLF player personnel and recruits aspiring to play in Australia.
In addition to his work with American Footy Star, Gladovic has served as consultant for the Australian Football League, FC Bayern Munich, the Los Angeles Dodgers and many more of the leading organizations in world sport.
Recently relocated to Florida, the Melbourne native is a former player for Heidelberg United FC before becoming the youngest accredited FIFA player agent at the time.
Based in Germany for ten seasons, Gladovic went on to represent over 50 professional players, negotiating millions of dollars in transfer fees for players all over the world.
Gladovic founded the boutique sports media, management and consulting firm Marasava LLC in Los Angeles in 2007.
A profound and forward-thinking advocate for the growth of Australian football in the United States, Gladovic came to Major League Footy by way of first serving as the color commentator for St. Petersburg Swans radio broadcasts, where he became possibly the first commentator ever to leave the broadcast booth and take to the ground in-match.
In addition to his roles with Major League Footy and American Footy Star, Gladovic will co-host the American Footy Show, a comprehensive studio program examining footy from Australian and American perspectives.
The American Footy Show begins production Friday, November 10 in St. Petersburg.
For more information on American Footy Star, check out the exclusive VICE Sports feature, showcasing for NFL players who made Aussie Rules part of the sports journey:
MLF SECURES LOCAL OWNERSHIP FOR CALIFORNIA TEAMS
Major League Footy has secured local administrative operators/ownership groups for four Southern California franchises, set to become the foundation of the winter footy league’s Western Conference.
Details are being finalized, with a further announcement forthcoming.
Major League Footy clubs operate on an Americanized ‘franchise’ model, rather than the ‘club’ model traditional to Australian football.
Projected to begin play for the 2018-’19 Winter (November-March) season, the Anaheim Hawks, Los Angeles Warriors, Orange County Aviators and San Diego SeaWolves will be operated by two independent ownership groups, each operating two clubs.
Both administrative/ownership groups bring proven footy experience, assuring the league’s Western Conference will field solid organizations both on and off the ground when the clubs begin competitive play next season.
While the groups will independently administer their clubs, venue selection, match scheduling, broadcast and social media will be administrated at the league level.
As in the winter circuit’s 2016-’17 Inaugural Season, this year’s competition will be based in Florida, with an expanded number of local clubs. Those sides are joined by sides representing Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in a model based on the ‘State of Origin’ tradition.
CRITTENDEN NAMED MLF LEAGUE COUNSEL
University of Florida Levin College of Law graduate Aaron Crittenden has been named League Counsel for Major League Footy.
The Ft. Myers native also attended Stetson University, where he was a member of the NCAA D1 baseball team, serving as Captain during the 2009-10 season.
Aaron comes to Major League Footy after joining the St. Petersburg Swans as a new recruit in 2016, having previously played for Tampa Bay GAA in the club’s International Rules test matches in St. Petersburg.
He has since become an integral part of the Swans offensive attack, frequently positioned at full forward.
As League Counsel, Crittenden will serve a senior role in league-wide matters, including the development of club operations procedures, contracts and agreements and other affairs.
LIBERO TAKES CHARGE AT FOOTY ADVANCED MEDIA
Digital sports content executive Rich Libero has been named President of Footy Advanced Media, the in-house content development and deployment agency of Major League Footy.
A 30-year veteran of print, broadcast and digital content,
Libero comes to Major League Footy and Footy Advanced Media after leading editorial and content at Fox Sports, Comcast SportsNet, EASports and the Women’s Tennis Association..
He is former Vice President of NHL.com and is a graduate of Fordham University.
A former color analyst for New York MetroStars Major League Soccer, he comes to Major League Footy by way of initially serving as play-by-play announcer of St. Petersburg Swans radio broadcasts in 2016.
While spearheading numerous innovative content strategies for Major League Footy, Libero will also continue with his broadcast role for all 2017-18 Swans broadcasts.
FORMER SOUTH CROYDON PRESIDENT HEADS MLF FOOTBALL OPS
Former South Croydon Bulldogs (EFL) President Mark Lumsden has been named Major League Footy Director of Football Operations.
Lumsden, 31, was a long-time member of South Croydon, and served as Club President prior to relocating to Florida in 2015.
Lumsden played as a member of the St. Petersburg Swans in 2015-16, and saw mate and former AFL defender Lukas Markovic (Hawthorn/Western Bulldogs) join St. Petersburg for training and scrimmage matches in 2016.
As Director of Football Operations, the Ft. Myers resident and avid St. Kilda fan is responsible for all aspects of on-field competition, and brings a lifetime of experience at the EFL level to the American game.
ST. PETE HOSTS SCRIMMAGE AS TIGERS BOW
The scrimmage will begin at 11 AM, and marks the first action of the Major League Footy 2017-’18 Florida Winter Season.
The debuting Lakeland Tigers are led by USAFL veteran Patrick Bilder (New York/Baton Rouge/St. Petersburg), and will play a limited number of matches in the coming season as part of the MLF Elite Series.
Admission and parking are free, and the scrimmage will immediately follow the regularly-scheduled pre-season training session.
The Major League Footy 2017-’18 season kicks off Saturday, 18 November, as Orlando visits St. Pete.
St. Petersburg (3-1) captured the 2016-17 MLF Premiership flag by defeating the previously undefeated Suncoast Suns, while Orlando went winless at 0-3 in a rough Inaugural campaign.
FOOTY 9s: FAST, FORWARD FOOTY
Think the Quarterback style forward pass will never work in ‘footy’? Well, it’s not an entirely new idea.
In fact, Footy 9s is a refined evolution of the World War II era sport ‘Austus’…and an idea whose time has come.
There were certainly grand plans afoot after a successful run of Austus matches in Victoria during the War, when Ern Cowley of the Melbourne Sporting Globe and his friend Bill Jost devised a new sport of compromise rules that would see American athletes stationed in the South Pacific take on Aussie Rules clubs on a more even playing field.
How to do that? The forward pass.
By incorporating the forward pass into what otherwise was fully Australian football, the American competitors immediately became competitive in an otherwise completely new sport.
In fact, the prodigious passing of the Yanks proved more than competitive – the American sides actually took the ‘Best of Five’ series of matches, 3 games to 2, and sparked talked of an international ‘World Championship of Football’ in the US after the War.
Sadly, the conclusion of the American’s service Down Under instead saw the end of the Austus Era, as players returned to their respective football codes.
It’s been a 75-year wait, but Footy 9s stands as the evolution of this remarkable and ‘Invented in Australia’ fusion of the best of both codes.
With refined rules and game-play best suited for American skills and sporting tastes, Footy 9s has taken a great old-school solution to the ‘Bringing Footy to America’ quandary that has seen the traditional 18-a-side on a cricket oval find slow going in the States.
NEW SIDES, OLD RIVALRIES HIGHLIGHT MLF SECOND SLATE
Brand new Footy sides and intense rivalries carried over from the 2016-’17 campaign highlight the upcoming Major League Footy season.
The Florida-based circuit of 9-a-side Australian football opens its second season of action, Saturday, November 18, when Orlando and St. Petersburg clash at 7 pm at Four ‘N Twenty Field in St. Pete.
That match is one of five night games on the historic gridiron field in the shadows of Tropicana Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays.
With a Premiership Season running November – March and playing exclusively under Footy 9s rules, Major League Footy is an exciting addition to the footy landscape.
Other highlights of the the season include the introduction of the First Division – comprised of last season’s foundational clubs – and the debut of the Elite Series, featuring development and visiting sides.
Three new Florida sides will be joined by two touring and development teams in making their league debut in 2017-’18.
The stage will be set for MLF’s 2017-’18 season, just as the rest of the footy world goes on an extended break, beginning with the 2017 World Footy 9s Challenge, pitting Team Australia vs Team Ireland, September 30th at 1pm.
Two rounds of pre-season matches punctuate October, with the 2017-’18 league year beginning November 10 with the 2nd Annual Major League Footy Player Draft.