Good afternoon, everyone….from a warmer Nashville as it is 70 degrees today. Hello, Spring…..where have you been?
As we get set for Easter weekend, the International Cup is getting around the corner….it means one thing….TIME FOR USAFL FOOTY TO BEGIN!
Yesterday, the USAFL Revolution team was announced on the USAFL website yesterday and we will have a special edition of that this weekend. The good news for everyone this week is that the final decision has been made for the shows on the 2014 season. All shows will be at 2 pm on Sundays every week and we will have special editions during the season. This week’s show is a big one as we will be celebrating the show’s 6 year anniversary on Sunday and it will be a full show. So, gear up and get ready….Sunday at a special time…3 pm.
Good evening, everyone…
Welcome to a Special Edition of USAFL Weekly as we preview the 2014 Season.
As we begin 2014, there are a lot to questions to be answered after the 2013 season. One of the biggest questions that I have been asked is about the return of the Dallas Magpies and their return to the Nationals after the disbarment from the Austin Nationals after the sins of 2012′s Nationals in Mason. There are also other issues on if several teams that haven’t been playing in the Nationals, let alone in the USAFL, returns.
This edition of the USAFL Weekly will focus on the USAFL teams and we will go region by region and where the teams are going to finish for the men’s and the full women’s division. When you see each of the teams, they will have their final record, points and where they finished in the final standings last year beside them. Now, everyone is going to ask, “How did you come up with the analysis for this year?” Simple. I came up with the first analysis was to look at last year with the team during regular season and the Nationals and also look at other teams that matches up with them and stacked them in which Division would suit them best in 2014 based on last year and also project on what they can do. This was totally unbiased and took nearly 3 weeks of dissecting all of the teams that played last season to come to this first analysis of this kind. With that, we will begin where else, but the Northeast Region:
The Northeast region is most of the EAFL teams and it will be the toughest region overall in this 2014 season as it has the #2 team in the nation (New York), but some also several other teams that could also contend for the Divisional Titles. So, with that, here’s the teams, in alphabetical order:
Baltimore/Washington Eagles (5-7, 14 points, Finish Rank: 14th)
This team was one of the better teams last season in the EAFL and gave both Philadelphia and Boston fits, but was no match for New York last season. Furthermore, last year’s Nationals was a major disappointment as they went 1-2 and finished 6th in Division 2. This year’s EAFL schedule will produce more of the same and with the Eastern Regional Tournament close by, watch for a battle royale between them and Boston. In the end, however, they will be looking more of the same like last season. Expect them to be in the battle for Division 2. First analysis for Nationals: Division 2 as a 5th seed.
Boston Demons (2-4, 8 points, Finish Rank: 24th)
This team is one of the powerful Division 3 teams in the nation over the last few years, however, last year wasn’t one of those years as the team struggled to 24th in the final rankings. However, this team will be different in some ways as Andi Williams, the team’s first female president (see my interview with her earlier this year) will bring a fresh approach to the team. I expect them to improve this season, however, I expect them to be a team inbetween Divisions 2 and 3. First analysis for Nationals: Division 3 as a 3rd seed.
New York Magpies (13-1, 40 points, Finish Rank: 2nd)
This team was a powerhouse in not only the EAFL, but was a major force for the USAFL Division 1 title last year, coming just 1 point short in the final rankings after losing the Pool Final in Pool B. This team reminds me of another team in the NFL, the New England Patriots, where they just reload and refocus. The question for them is not if they win the EAFL, but can they also win the USAFL Division One title. I expect they will contend again and don’t be surprise if we see a rematch of Austin vs. New York for the Division 1 title. First analysis for Nationals: Division 1 as the top seed overall.
Philadelphia Hawks (3-10, 12 points, Finish Rank: 19th)
This was the surprise team of the Nationals after a very disappointing regular season, getting within 2 goals of winning the Pool A final against the Sacramento Suns. With them in the toughest region in the nation, this team has been in near constant rebuilding mode for the last several seasons, however, I think that this season may change that, considering several of the games were very close overall. The game to watch for is the game against Columbus @ home late in the season. No doubt they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Nationals. First analysis for Nationals: Division 3 as the 4th seed.
The southeast regional has the most dynamic teams in the nation as three of the top 10 teams in the nation (Nashville (#5), North Carolina (#9) and Fort Lauderdale (#10) are in this region. This region is a potent region and will most likely decide where the road leads to Columbus. With that, here are the teams, in alphabetical order:
Atlanta Kookaburras (3-5, 12 points, Finish Rank: 20th)
Atlanta comes into 2014 with a lot of questions after the team combined with Baton Rouge and was delegated to Division Four for the first time in their history. After the blowout losses that highlighted the season against their archrival Nashville and a close loss to North Carolina as well, what will be the fate of the Kookaburras. A tell tale sign of what the season will be told in their first match, ironically, @ Nashville against the Kangaroos on June 28th. If they come with the tenacity of the seasons before 2013, expect a battle. I am not sure if that’ll happen. First analysis for Nationals: Division 4 as the 4th seed.
Florida Redbacks (2-3. 6 points, Finish Rank: 26th)
The Florida Redbacks has been getting better with the last several years as a separate entity away from Fort Lauderdale. Will this be the season that they will field a team for the Nationals? With a 2-3 record last season, there is hope for them. First analysis for Nationals: Most likely not to field a team.
Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids (6-2, 18 points, Finish Rank: 10th)
The Squids was another team that was a surprise of the season as they went against some tough opposition and prevailed. Coming within 10 points of winning the Pool B in Division Two, I expect this team to fight for the title in Division Two. Their road won’t be easy, however, as their schedule is one of the tougher ones in the league. Expect a lot from them this upcoming season. First analysis for Nationals: Division 2 as the #2 seed.
Nashville Kangaroos (8-3, 30 points, Finish Rank: 5th)
The Kangaroos are coming into 2014 with a lot to prove as they once again was disappointing in the Nationals, finishing 5th in Division 1 after being picked by several teams to win it all. With a new coach this season and a younger team than it has been in several years as several players have retired. However, their core is still strong with Captain Luke Nemeth, a perennial USA Revolution player. The perennial fork in the road for them this season is the first Central Regional @ Indianapolis on July 26-27 will decide if they have the chops for a 4th run in a row in Division 1. Also with a home-and-home with both Columbus and Atlanta, plus a doubleheader with Division One Champion Austin…this will be a watershed year. The team is definitely a borderline Division 1/2, but I am hopeful. First analysis for Nationals: Division 1 as the 6th seed.
North Carolina Tigers (5-3, 20 points, Finish Rank: 9th)
North Carolina comes into the 2014 season with a lot of questions as they dropped down to Division 4, but won their pool in Pool A, only to lose mightily to the Cincinnati Dockers in the Division 4 Grand Final. How well is the team this season after going just 2-3 in the EAFL against pretty much the cream of the crop in the USAFL last season. I think another year in Division 4 could season them up for a run in 2015, but don’t be surprised if they move to Division 3. First analysis for Nationals: Division 4 as the top seed.
North Central Regional
The Midwest regional has the 2nd most teams of all the regions (7) and several of the teams are definitely are up-to-caliber for Division titles. One of the teams is returning after several years absence and some teams are rebuilding as well. This region will be hosting the Nationals (Columbus) and also the Central Regional (Indianapolis), but also has the newest team in the league as well (Indianapolis). With all of that, here’s our look of the North Central Regional:
Chicago Swans (2-5. 8 points, Finish Rank: 23rd)
The Swans had a interesting year last year as they was the Division 3 champions and were ready to take on the boys in Division 2. However, 2013 was not the year for them as the team struggled mightily in both the regular season and in the Nationals, finishing in 5th in Division 2. This season, like their archrival Kangaroos, is a watershed season for them as well and it will come down to three events, the Central Regional Tournament in Indianapolis, on the road @ Boston against Boston and Montreal and the Wayne Schwass Cup against Nashville on 6 September. If they come out to play on all of those events, expect them to go far this year. First analysis for Nationals: Division 2 as a 4th seed.
Cincinnati Dockers (5-2, 22 points, Finish Rank: 7th)
The Dockers was the surprise team of Division 4 as they came out of the woodwork to lambaste the field and in doing so, won the Division 4 title. This season could be another interesting one for the Dockers as they can defend the title, but with a tough core of players, I am not expecting that at all. I think they will move up to Division 3 and give it a ride and then some. Expect some fireworks with the rivals Columbus, Nashville and newly formed Indianapolis, especially in the Central Regional Tournament in late July. First analysis for Nationals: Division 3 as the 8th seed.
Columbus Jackaroos (9-2, 38 points, Finish Rank: 3rd)
For a team in its 5th season, there’s no one that I think will be a team on the rise this season like the Jackaroos. They are poised to make some major noise after dominating in Division 2 in winning it. And with the incentive of being home for the Nationals, this year could be the year they take the plunge with the big boys in Division 1. Expect major fireworks with Nashville in the home-and-home and also expect a battle royale also with Division 1 Champion Austin @ Nashville in late June and with the Central Regional in Indianapolis. Could a repeat of 2013 happen with Columbus to winning their 1st Division 1 title at home? Who knows…that’s a wait and see. First analysis for Nationals: Division 1 as the 5th seed.
Des Moines Roosters (3-5, 10 points, Finish Rank: 22nd)
Des Moines is another interesting team that has me in a state of flux after dominating Division 3 in winning it in ’12 in Mason only to struggle in the same division in ’13. With a tough schedule with the powerhouses of Minnesota and Kansas City and upstart Tulsa, they may have a long road to haul. I expect to keep them in Division 3 once again for a third year and they could go for a title if the pieces fit. First analysis for Nationals: Division 3 as the 7th seed.
Indianapolis Giants (0-1, 0 points, Finish Rank: 30th)
The newest team in the league, Indianapolis, gets their feet wet in their first full season in the USAFL in what will be a very tough North Central region. With only one game under their belt (against Cincinnati), this team is getting major footing for them this year as the Central Regional is in their home @ Northwestway Park in late July. A virtual unknown in every sense of the word. I hope for a good season for them in their first full year. First analysis for Nationals: Most likely not to field a team this year…just too many unknowns, but several players will most likely play for other teams. Look for them in 2015 for their Nationals debut.
Milwaukee Bombers (Didn’t play in 2013)
One of the teams returning to the USAFL after several years of absence is the Milwaukee Bombers as they will field a squad. This year will be a building year for them as their schedule is light for them this year with the major focus on the Central Regional in Indianapolis in late July. I am not seeing much of this team this year for them to gauge a look for the Nationals. First analysis for Nationals: Most likely not to field a team for Nationals. Expect them to field one in 2015.
Minnesota Freeze (6-5, 22 points, Finish Rank: 8th)
After having a great season in 2012, most teams was hoping for a great season from the Freeze last year. However, the regular season was a disappointment as the team struggled to 4-4. However, the Nationals turned out to be the catalyst for the 2014 season as they went 2-1 and finished 3rd in Division 2. I expect this season to be more of the same and another nice run in Division 2. First analysis for Nationals: Division 2 as a 3rd seed.
South Central Region
The South Central region has the claim this year as having the #1 team in the nation (Austin) as well as an up-and-comer (Houston) and a newbie (Tulsa) all in the same area. It is also where a team that was barred (Dallas) returns back to the Nationals. A lot of questions in this region and several teams will definitely will go for Division titles. With that, here are the teams in alphabetical order:
Austin Crows (12-1, 41 points, Finish Rank: 1st)
The surprise team of the entire year was the Crows as they prove to be a Division 1 caliber team the likes that hasn’t been shown since the days of Denver vs. San Diego. In just 5 years, they moved from Division 4 through Division 3 in ’09, Division 2 in ’11 and ’12 and then to Division 1 last year in their first attempt in beating Calgary by a single point. Could we see a repeat for them in 2014? My thoughts are a definitely yes. They bring the division winning coach back and majority of their season is spent in the Texas Cup matches, however, the match that I am looking forward to is the battle with Columbus and Nashville @ Elmington Field on 28 June. That might speak volumes as to whether they get the top seed in the Division 1 brackets. This will be too close for me to call that, but I definitely think that they can contend again for the title. First analysis for Nationals: Division 1 as the 2nd seed.
Baton Rouge Tigers (0-6, 0 points, Finish Rank: 29th)
We go from one extreme to the other as we go to Baton Rouge. The Tigers didn’t field a team for the Nationals as they combined with Atlanta in Division 4 and after an extremely disappointing season. Questions are if they can return to respectability this season? If the scores from last season can tell the story, I say absolutely not. It will definitely be another rebuilding year for them again. First analysis for Nationals: Most likely not to field a team this season.
Dallas Magpies (7-3, 14 points, Finish Rank: 15th)
We come to the team with the most unknowns in the region, Dallas, after the disbarment from the Nationals last year. Questions are abound on what the team will do this year with their return if they can once again head back to Division 1 and contend. The big test for them will be the Texas Cup rotation and what they do there could decide a lot of things. By my thinking, it is time for them to step back and rebuild and I think Division 2 will be the first stepping stone back to prominence again. First analysis: Division 2 as the 6th seed.
Houston Lonestars (7-6, 30 points, Finish Rank: 6th)
Another team that is an up-and-coming team that may follow the Austin template is the Houston Lonestars. This team was the major unknown last season and yet, it came out firing on all cylinders in winning the Division 3 title over Sacramento after a bruising Pool B play in which they came in the back door. I think this year, like several other teams, is a watershed year for them as well. Do they have the capabilities to head to Division 2 is the biggest question. I think a defending of the title will be the best thing for them this season, but there’s the opportunity to make it to Division 2 and battle and this might be their year to test it. First analysis: Division 2 as the 8th seed.
Kansas City Power (4-7, 12 points, Finish Rank: 18th)
Another team in a transitional time is the Kansas City Power after a extremely disappointing Nationals last year as they finished 7th in Division 3 last year. A lot of questions on this team and see if they can rebuild in 2014 and return to respectability. I think this year they can, but I don’t expect them to move out of Division 3. First analysis for Nationals: Division 3 as the 7th seed.
Tulsa Buffaloes (1-7, 4 points, Finish Rank: 27th)
A newbie to the Nationals last year, the Buffaloes are a rising team this year with a pretty tough schedule overall. I think the team can do well with more seasoning in Division 4 again and maybe contend for a Pool final. A lot of unknowns on this team, but a lot of promise too. First analysis for Nationals: Division 4 as the 5th seed.
The Western Region lays claim to the most teams in any region (9) and also is the most unpredictable region for teams that can contend for titles this season. The Western Regional for them is in Los Angeles in late September before the Nationals and will be a interesting mix to see where everyone will sit after that regional completes. There are several times rising in the region, but several teams also faltering severely that a refocus in another division is in order. With that, here are the teams in the Western Region, in alphabetical order:
Denver Bulldogs (7-4, 18 points, Finish Rank: 11th)
The 2014 Western Regional begins with the Denver Bulldogs. 2013 was a interesting year for the Bulldogs as the team struggled in that their home field advantage wasn’t much of one as the eventual Division 1 Champion Austin Crows, however, they bounced back in the Nationals to finish 2-1 in Pool B to finish 4th in Division 1. Will 2014 see them rise back for a chance for an 8th title? I think it is possible, but with the teams ahead of them, it could be a interesting Nationals. First analysis for Nationals: Division 1 as the 4th seed.
Golden Gate Roos (6-3, 16 points, Finish Rank: 13th)
This is one of the teams that was looking for to rise in the Division 1 title race for 2013, only to severely disappoint and finish with a thud in 6th place in Division 1. The team is solid, but they must improve, especially with the likes of Austin, Nashville, Columbus and New York in the Division 1 title rounds. This will be a wait and see for them this season. Expect them to be in the hunt again for the pool title. First analysis for Nationals: Division 1 as the 7th seed.
Las Vegas Gamblers (0-1, 0 points, Finish Rank: 28th)
The Gamblers have a ton of questions after having only 1 game played in 2013. They didn’t even field a team for the Nationals for the first time in several years, so a lot of unknowns abound for this year for them. First analysis for Nationals: Most likely not to field a team for 2014.
Los Angeles Dragons (9-4, 30 points, Finish Rank: 4th)
The surprise team of the West Region is the Dragons as they busted out like a team with a mission, to win the Division 2 title, which they almost accomplished. Unfortunately, they got the buzzsaw of the Columbus Jackaroos in the Grand Final and finished runner-up. With a distinct possibility of Columbus moving to Division 1 in 2014, LA may have the chance to finally get their first title. Expect a lot from this team and watch out, Division 2. This is most likely the team to beat. First analysis for Nationals: Division 2 as the top seed.
Orange County Bombers (4-6, 14 points, Finish Rank: 16th)
Orange County had a very disappointing regular season and Nationals as they went 0-3 and finished a very disappointing 7th for the second year in a row. This year maybe it is a time for them to move down a division to regroup and get their footing back before they can get back to contend for Division 1 title again. First analysis for Nationals: Division 2 as the 4th seed.
Portland Steelheads (2-7, 8 points, Finish Rank: 25th)
Portland was starting to gel in 2013 and was really making some moves in the Nationals after going 0-6 in the tough West region and was just percentage points from making the Division 3 Grand Final. I think this team can definitely take a big move this year and can threaten for the Division 3 title after the strong performance in Austin. First analysis for Nationals: Division 3 as the 2nd seed.
Sacramento Suns (5-3, 18 points, Finish Rank: 12th)
Sacramento has improved the most behind the Los Angeles Dragons in 2013 as they had their first winning record and making it to their first Division Grand Final in Division 3. Can they repeat the feat and win the title this time? I say, definitely yes. This team is very well built with USA Revolution coach Matt Bishop and I feel they are the team to beat in Division 3 with Houston moving to Division 2. First analysis: Division 3 as the top seed.
San Diego Lions (3-6, 12 points, Finish Rank: 21st)
As the 2013 season began, a lot of questions were needing of the one-time powerhouse of Division 1. As 2014 begins, some of the questions are still left unanswered if the team can make the jump back up to Divisions 1 and 2. At the present, their fit in Division 3 is the best fit for them as they are still rebuilding this season. Expect them to battle for Division 3 title. First analysis: Division 3 as the 7th seed.
Seattle Grizzlies (5-3, 14 points, Finish Rank: 14th)
Seattle had a great regular season in winning the battle of I-5 and winning the Portland Stumpdown Throwdown. However, that didn’t translate to the Nationals as they went with a thud, finishing 8th in Division 1. This team is a borderline Division 1/2 as is Orange County and Nashville, however, unlike Orange County, Seattle has a bit more potential to bounce back in 2014. First analysis: Division 1 as the 8th seed.
Now onto the Women’s Division, home of the 3-time Denver Lady Bulldogs. This team is a dynamo and will be strongly defending to go for the rarest of rare, a 4-peat. Once again, we will go in alphabetical order, with their final standings last year and first analysis for Nationals in 2014. With that, let’s begin:
Boston Lady Demons (3-3, 8 points, Finish Rank: 3rd)
In 2012, the Lady Demons was the surprise of the tournament when they clawed their way into the Grand Final against Denver @ Mason and signs were looking promising for the 2013 season. That, however, wasn’t mean to be as the team didn’t field a team for the Nationals in 2013 @ Austin. However, their regular season was a tough one as they battled with New York, Montreal and Baltimore/Washington. With the Nationals closer this year in Columbus, a full team looks a good chance and possibly a good showing at the Nationals can be obtained. First analysis: 3rd Seed
Denver Lady Bulldogs (5-2, 22 points, Finish Rank: 1st)
What can we say about the Lady Bulldogs that haven’t already been said the last 3 years except dynasty. This team has a dynasty written on them and will continue that way. In the world of USAFL Women’s Division, there’s Denver, followed by a drop-off of significant proportions down to San Francisco and the rest of the teams. In 2014, the team will try to do what no other team, men’s or ladies, has done…win 4 straight titles in the modern era. Can they do it? Until a team has the horses to pull side them, expect them to pull it off. Once again, this is the team to beat. First analysis: Top seed
Minnesota Lady Freeze (2-4, 8 points, Finish Rank: 4th)
One of the newest teams in the league last year was actually the only women’s team debuting and that was the Minnesota Lady Freeze. The team faced some pretty stiff competition in finishing 4th overall and doing very well @ the Nationals finishing runner up in Pool B. With a high caliber team like that returning for this year, the league will definitely stand up and take notice. Don’t under estimate them. First analysis: 4th seed.
New York Lady Magpies (2-7, 4 points, Finish Rank: 7th)
One of the stalwart teams in the women’s division, the New York Lady Magpies struggled last year in both the regular season and in the Nationals, failing to win a game @ Austin and finishing 7th. This coming season is going to be interesting for the Lady Magpies as they could strengthen. First analysis: 6th seed.
Sacramento Suns (1-5, 4 points, Finish Rank: 8th)
The Sacramento Suns completed their 2nd season with an improving 1-5 and gave a battle with the San Francisco Iron Maiden. However, their only win was at the Nationals to finish 5th in the Nationals. This year will be more growing pains and should be improving for them in 2014. First analysis: 5th seed.
San Francisco Iron Maiden (7-1, 20 points, Finish Rank: 2nd)
San Francisco came out with the fire and determination to dethrone the 2-time defending champion Lady Bulldogs. And way the regular season went, if any team had beaten them @ Sacramento, a rare feat to do. As the Nationals came to pass, they were seated as #2, behind the Bulldogs, which meant they wouldn’t face each other until the Grand Final. Ironically enough, they did exactly that….and Denver took revenge of the loss and shutout the Iron Maiden 25-0. The Iron Maiden have made sure that won’t happen in 2014 and will make sure of that as the majority of the team has returned. Expect fireworks, especially at the Nationals….and a rematch of last year’s Nationals against Denver. First analysis: 2nd seed.
If you didn’t notice, several teams are missing in the season review, most notably Arizona as they haven’t fielded a team in 2 years and Charleston as they didn’t field a team last year. We hope that they will field in 2014, but there are too many unknowns on those two teams, so no preview was placed for them. There are also a possibility that the Saint Louis Blues may field a team for the first time in 6 years as well. A lot of questions…and a full season ahead of us as the ROAD TO DUBLIN begins….October 10-11.
Good morning, everyone…
First of all, I need to apologize to everyone for the last few weeks. The work schedule for the last 3 weeks has been scrambling as we begin the new season, so we have been lacking on both the shows and the blogs. That will be changing in the next few weeks as I am working on the season preview for the USAFL today and also working on this week’s edition as well. So, everyone…please be patient….we got a lot to cover.
See you on Sunday.
Good evening, everyone…
As we begin the first week of the regular season in the AFL, it is almost time to start the USAFL. This week’s show will focus mostly on that and next week will be the USAFL Season Preview as I will give my predictions for 2014 in the each of the regions (Western, Central and Eastern) and who will go for the Nationals in the Divisions. We will be discussing that this and next week in 2 parts. Show time is set for 4 pm tomorrow. See you then!
Good evening, everyone…
As we get set to embark on the AFL 2014 Season, we are just a couple of weeks away from embarking on the 2014 USAFL Season. This week, our show, which will be Edition 14-4, as we will redo the first half o of the AFL Preview and we will make our first picks of the 2014 season on Week 1. Here’s our schedule for this week:
Segment One: AFL 2014 Season Preview: Our preview for the entire league.
Segment Two: Our Week 1 Picks: Our first picks of the 2014 season
Segment Three: Preview of Next Week’s Show: Preview of Next Week as we get set for the second half of the AFL Week 1, a preview of the USAFL 2014 Season and our look ahead to April.
Next week, the AFL Season begins…IT IS TIME TO BOUNCE! Show is set for 3 pm CDT Sunday, special time for that day due to the problems last week. See you Sunday.
As we prepare for Show 14-3, we are getting set for the 2nd week of the NAB Challenge. Remember, this week’s show is 1 pm on Sunday. Here’s what we are talking about this week:
Segment One: Our Recap of Week 2 of the NAB Challenge
We are recapping games 5-11 as we get set for the final week of games.
Segment Two: Look Ahead to Week 3
Our look ahead of Week 3 as we conclude the challenge and get set for the opening week of the AFL season.
Segment Three: Recap of Special Interview with Andi Williams
Our recap of Monday’s Special Interview as we get set for the USAFL season ahead.
Segment Four: Review of USA Freedom Camp and Preview of USA Revolution Camp
Our look back at the Freedom Camp in Houston and our preview of the Revolution Camp in Austin as we look ahead to the International Cup in August.
A decent show this week and a short blog…it will be much longer as the season begins. See you Sunday.
On Presidents Day weekend here in the USA (17 February), I had the distinct opportunity to interview (via Facebook) the first female President of an USAFL club, the Boston Demons Andrea “Andi” Williams. In the following interview, we discuss the road to becoming an trailblazer and pioneer, what drives her and talk about the US Revolution and Freedom teams as well as the 2014 season for the Demons.
Alex Benjamin: First of all, congratulations. Accordingly to our historian and my good friend, Lisa Albergo, this is not only you being the first female president of an Eastern Regional team, but the first in USAFL history.
Andrea Williams: Thank you very much. I am honored to have been elected to this position and excited to lead the Demons this season.
Alex Benjamin: I noticed in the article that you had come from Vice President in ’13 and then in ’12 was the Social and Sponsorship Coordinator. How has the Demons in the 3 years you have been with the Lady Demons and Demons has changed and what can we expect in ’14?
Andrea Williams: I was the second woman to join the Club in 2011 and stepped into a Board role in for 2012 because I felt I could help our Club continue to grow and evolve in a positive way. Over the past three years I have seen this Club evolve in so many positive ways. for example accepting and embracing the role of the newly established women’s team, encouraging newer members of the Club to step into leadership positions both on the field and off, and becoming more socially-minded, engaging in community service as a Club etc. My main goals for 2014 are to build on the foundation my predecessors laid, especially where recruiting and social cohesion are concerned, to continue to grow the women’s game and presence in the Club, and to work on establishing a stronger presence for the Club in the city of Boston and New England in general.
Alex Benjamin: In ’13, the Men’s team finished 24th in the USAFL Weekly and the women’s finished 3rd. There are multiple members of the Demons that have gone to be with the Freedom and Revolution teams. Do you see some of the members of the current teams to be members in time for the International Cup this year?
Andrea Williams: That’s correct. We have a pretty storied history of sending players to the Freedom and Revolution teams over the years, both from our men’s team and our women’s team. I think for the Parallel Cup over the past two years, we’ve had at least six women represent. I know of some of our women going out to Houston this weekend (Saturday, 22 February) to try out for the IC squads but I don’t foresee any men trying out this year (4 April @ Austin, home of last year’s Nationals). I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to send some men over the next few seasons though.
Alex Benjamin: With the tradition of the Demons over the last few years and having one of the toughest schedules in the USAFL because of the EAFL, how is this year’s schedule will be and how do you see this year’s team on both sides will be?
Andrea Williams: I am actually pretty confident about the upcoming season. I worked closely with Michael Sheppard, our VP, to ensure that we’re meeting our travel commitments to other teams but not forcing our guys and girls to travel several weekends a month throughout the season. I think those seasons tend to be tough and we see numbers drop with each consecutive travel commitment. For the women’s side, I worked with Lisa Arredondo, our women’s director, and Drea Casillas and the other ladies of the East, to ensure that we’re getting all of our girls plenty of playing time. As you know, getting the girls time on the field can be tough because of smaller numbers. As a Club, both men’s and women’s teams, we’ll focus on our metro competition this season and I think our fixtures allow us ample opportunity to get a ripper of a metro season going.
Alex Benjamin: As a fellow pioneer and trailblazer, it takes some courage and stepping into the unknown to do something special, Andi…what’s your inspiration in both footy wise and other ways?
Andrea Williams: Well, that’s a good question. I think in general, my niece Madeleine is a huge inspiration. She’s 18 months old now and in her world view she just kind of owns the world. She’s completely fearless. I want her to maintain that fearlessness for the rest of her life, so I want to set an example that you can and should reach for things that conventional wisdom holds as “unattainable”. Between her and my partner-in-crime, Taso, who’s a paraplegic and holds two World Rowing Championship titles despite his injury… well, I’m lucky, I have plenty of inspiration to go around.
Alex Benjamin: Well…that’s worthy of praise on that situation. What’s your footy inspiration that strengthens you, Andi?
Andrea Williams: Footy gave me two things during a pretty dark time in my life: a community of supportive people who just kind of welcomed me in, no questions asked, and encouraged me to grow and do good things for myself, and the second thing it gave me is a reason to push myself to get better every day. The men and the women of the Demons have been a force for good in my life over the past three years and they inspire me daily.
Alex Benjamin: That’s awesome what footy can do. Andi, have you made any of the Nationals since your start with the Demons?
Andrea Williams: Yes, I was at both Nationals tournaments in Austin, 2011 and 2013. I missed 2012 Nationals in OH (Mason) due to a wedding.
Alex Benjamin: That’s awesome to be a devoted member for the team. Hopefully, you can be able to make the Nationals in Dublin, so we can recap the year as President and the team.
Andrea Williams: I sure hope so. It should be another terrific tournament and the Demons are looking to make a great showing
Alex Benjamin: See you at the Nationals in October @ Dublin and thanks…
Andrea Williams: No problem any time. Thanks Alex!