Sarasota, FL (Oct. 12, 2016) The Premier Sports Campus (PSC) at Lakewood Ranch will host the US Australian Football League’s (USAFL) national championships for the first time Oct. 15-16. This is the world’s largest Australian football tournament, with more than 1,500 players, coaches, supporters and VIPs attending the two-day event. There will be 40 teams competing across 5 Divisions, with 30 matches live streamed and on demand replays.
Australian Football consists of 18 players toughing it out on an oval-shaped field with no padding. Similar to NFL, physical contact is high, with players kicking, handballing and bouncing a ball slightly bigger and more round than an American football trying to score goals (worth 6 points). The men and women who play AFL are physically and mentally tough and it drives a love for the game that sees Australians have one of the highest attendance records of any sport in the world.
The USAFL is the sole representative of Australian football in the USA and is an international affiliate of the Australian Football League (AFL) in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1997, the league is a volunteer-based nonprofit committed to growing the sport, an active lifestyle, and Australian culture in the US. The league had 17% growth in 2015, and fulfilled its mandate to see 50% of players of American nationality.
Hawthorn Football Club premiership players Dermott Brereton and Chris Wittman will be attending Nationals in Lakewood Ranch. They will be conducting a coaching course the afternoon of Oct. 14, before the start of the tournament. ESPN reporter Thomas Neumann is also scheduled to attend.
The USAFL will also hold a free kids’ clinic during the National Championships, from 1-2 p.m. Oct. 15, at PSC. The clinic is free and open to kids 4 and older. Kids will learn the basic skills of the game and play a short non-contact game. Children need to be registered at usafl.com/nationals/2016.
“It is an amazing opportunity for Premier Sports Campus and the Lakewood Ranch area to host this event,” said Antonio Saviano, director of the PSC. “It is definitely something new for everyone, and being a national competition, it will provide wide-ranging expose for our facility.”
The event is free and open to the public, with free parking.
About Lakewood Ranch
The largest green-certified community in the US, Lakewood Ranch occupies 8,500 acres convenient to Sarasota and the Tampa Bay region. The master-planned community includes four golf courses, a country club and extensive recreational amenities, with housing options ranging from maintenance-free condos, single-family homes and estate-size properties. New home and lot packages begin in the high $100,000s to over $5 million.