Nationals return: USAFL descends on California for tournament of the year

THE 2022 USAFL Nationals are about to get underway, with teams all across America descending on California this weekend to battle it out to become national champions.

It is an important year for the USAFL, with the league bringing up its 25th anniversary. On the women’s side of things, 11 teams will be battling it out in two divisions to be crowned National Champions.

In Division One, seven teams will battle it out in two pools to be crowned Division One Champions, while four teams will battle it out in Division Two in a round robin style.

In the top flight, you have reigning National Champions the San Francisco Iron Maidens, Denver Bulldogs (who lost to the Iron Maidens in last year’s decider), and the DC Eagles, plus four teams who returning to competition this year but were unable to play last year – New York Magpies, Sacramento Suns, Seattle Grizzles and Minnesota Freeze.

One thing that all of these teams have that none of the Division Two teams have is that they are all full sides. With all the Division Two sides, they all play under the one “banner team” but are made up of players from four to six different clubs from all over the country.

In Division two this year there is the Portland Sockeyes (with players joining them from Boston, Philadelphia and North Star), Austin Crows (with players joining them from fellow Texas clubs Houston and North Texas), Orange County Giants (with players joining them from Arizona, Wasatch, Hawaii and reserves players from Seattle’s Division One side) and the Centennial Tigers (with players joining them from Columbus, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Quebec).

Running alongside the women’s competition, there are also four men’s divisions competing this weekend.

The teams competing in those four divisions are as follows:

Division One: Austin Crows, Denver Bulldogs, Golden Gate Roos, New York Magpies, Los Angeles Dragons, Seattle Grizzlies, DC Eagles and San Diego Lions

Division Two: Boston Demons, Sacramento Suns, Minnesota Freeze, Orange County Giants, Portland Steelheads, Houston Lonestars, Baltimore Dockers and Columbus Cats

Division Three: Nashville (with players joining them from Chicago and Louisville), Quebec (with players joining them from DC Eagles and Ft Lauderdale), Arizona Hawks, Philadelphia (with players joining them from Virginia and Tampa Bay), North Texas Devils, Oklahoma (with players joining them from Dallas), Austin Crows Reserves and Denver Bulldogs Reserves

Division Four: Golden Gate Roos Reserves, Orange County Reserves (with players joining them from Los Angeles Reserves and San Diego Reserves), Des Moines (with players joining them from Kansas City, Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Boston Reserves), Sacramento Reserves (with players joining them from Wasatch, Atlanta and Baton Rouge), Las Vegas (with players joining them from St Louis) and Denver Reserves (with players joining them from Seattle Reserves)

Anyone not in California already can watch the weekend’s action here, with play to get underway early Sunday morning Australian time.

Unfortunately due to resource limitations not every game will get telecast, but plenty will including both women’s Grand Finals. Each day’s play gets underway at 9am local time, which is 3am Melbourne time but runs until the final game at 11am Melbourne time. Check out the full schedule here.

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