They are people with various backgrounds and professions, different life stories and domestic situations, life expectations and dreams, bound together by two vital connections. They live in Arizona, and they are passionate about the game, Australian Rules football. The Arizona Outlaws is a famous Australian footy club, often competing against other teams from all over America.
Australian Rules football is a game which is played far and wide from the Australian shores and truly is a globally loved sport. Since the mid-1800’s the game went global, but it is only as recent as about two decades ago that it found its foothold in the Arizona valley. Here you will find the footy clubs Chandler, Scottsdale and Tucson, to name only a few. Over the first couple of years, the clubs just grew at a tremendous pace as the popularity of this physically demanding sport grew at a rapid speed. Then a disagreement followed with the United States Australian Football League. The league is operating as a non-profit organization which is concerned with the growth and the development of footy on American soil. This brought a slight halt to the expansion of the sport for a while, but fortunately, the club members and the organization could shake hands once again, and the competition excelled once more. Now the USAFL is home to 45 footy teams of which the Arizona Outlaws and the Arizona Hawks are two.
The History of Footy in Arizona
The first footy team playing for the state of Arizona was the Arizona Hawks. They started playing in 1999, but the team had challenges with members moving away, and it nearly folded for a while. For about a decade it was an on and off the struggle and irregular practices. In 2015 the Arizona Hawks was back in full force and managed to have regular practice sessions. 2017 saw the Arizona Outlaws come to life. These two teams compete within the Arizona Footy League. This league of four teams competes within the Valley with nine players per team. Now Anthony Stark, player and passionate supporter of the sport said that a strong foundation had been laid after all these struggles and the future of footy in Arizona looks promising.
Recruitment Remains Challenging
Footy, which is a combination of soccer, rugby, American football and basketball, is a very physical sport which often leads to sprained ankles and other injuries. This is however not the reason why clubs have a challenging time to recruit new players, but much rather because people move away and their priorities shift and then they need to be replaced with new promising athletes. Therefore these clubs are shifting their focus on finding younger athletes so that they can coach a younger generation of players to take the sport forward and keep on expanding the interest in it. Footy in Arizona is not only a sport; they all agree, but much rather a social network of members supporting each other while they have fun at trying something new from the Land Down Under.