Collingwood recruit Shae McNamara (centre) came to AFL from professional basketball

AFL Recruitment Heads to the US

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

AFL recruiters are broadening their sights and heading to the United States to conduct a pilot Combine in Los Angeles in August.

Targeting US basketballers who may have missed out on a professional contract, the AFL hopes to introduce elite American athletes to Australian football and an alternative sporting career.

A new video capturing the excitement and importance of AFL in Australia will play a significant role in enticing basketballers -- and ultimately other athletes -- to consider Aussie rules.

Produced by AFL Media, the video also runs through the Combine process and how not all AFL footballers start out playing Australian football.

"We're initially targeting basketballers because there is increasing evidence in AFL that athletes from a basketball development background can make the transition," says AFL International Development Manager, Tony Woods.

"Athletes in the AFL from a basketball background include players such as Kurt Tippet, Dean Brogan and Nic Naitanui, to name a few. Throw in the recent success of Mike Pyke from Canada who hails from a rugby background and we strongly believe that our game can be played by international athletes from different backgrounds."

US recruit Shae McNamara who hails from Wisconsin tells his story from playing basketball in college then as a professional in Germany to becoming an AFL player for Collingwood.

"I chose to play AFL because it's a combination of all the sports I grew up playing," McNamara says in the video. "I saw it as a challenge and I knew I wanted something new and different in my life."

Woods is optimistic about offering aspiring athletes another chance at a professional sporting career.

"We're not trying to compete with professional sports in the US," he says, "but rather provide another opportunity for elite college athletes who may have missed their chance."

Between 20 to 30 athletes will be invited to participate in the three-day event which will test their skills and athletic abilities, similar to the state and national Combines conducted in Australia to uncover potential elite footballers.

Two of the best athletes from the LA Combine will be invited to travel to Australia to participate in the 2012 NAB ABL Draft Combine, conducted in Melbourne in early October.

The LA Combine is a precursor to a larger Combine to be held in the US in April where AFL club recruiters are likely to attend.

No comments

Comment on this story

* - required field



Year of Birth