WINTER WONDERLAND: FLORIDA FOOTY EYES EXPANSION
Having seen unprecedented success in a 2016-’17 Inaugural Season that saw the St. Petersburg Swans defeat minor premiers Suncoast Suns to claim the Florida Winter League flag, Major League Footy – The Florida Winter League of Australian Football – has announced the beginning of active recruitment for clubs across Florida.
Launched with seven metro rules sides, and with players selected in an innovative draft-process from the senior co-ed player list of the USAFL’s Tampa Bay ARFC, the November-February off-season circuit is now seeking committed club managers, players, coaches and referees to stock new clubs throughout the state.
While Tampa Bay ARFC will itself launch new metro sides in the Greater Bay Area communities of Memphis, FL (Sarasota/Bradenton) and San Antonio, FL (Pasco County / New Tampa), the winter footy circuit is currently gauging interest from prospective club admins in: Melbourne (FL), Jacksonville, Gainesville, Fort Myers, Tallahassee and Pensacola.
Additionally, proposed clubs representing Buffalo, NY,, Lehigh Valley, PA., and New Jersey and competing in a limited, Florida-based schedule in 2017-’18 are expected to join the Pittsburgh Blackbirds in representing their regions in the Florida Winter League. These clubs are also open to all independent players, as well as Australian ex-pats visiting Florida and any registered USAFL players.
There are no player participation fees for the Florida Winter League, and committed club managers will be provided with start-up training jumpers and footies.
Clubs must demonstrate the ability to recruit and retain a minimum of 7 local players. Players must be able to travel to away games in Florida from – February for a 10-match season. The 2017-’18 season will include a break mid-December thru mid-January.
The league is administered by the USAFL’s St. Petersburg Swans / Tampa Bay ARFC, and Major League Footy is recognized by the USAFL as the Florida Winter League of Metro Rules Australian Football.