BLAINE, Minn. — A unique sport for our area took center stage on Saturday. The United States Australian Football League came to Minnesota to host its regional tournament.
“It has elements of soccer, football, rugby, basketball, volleyball, and a mosh pit,” said the USAFL’s media manager, Brian Barrish.
Not the sport you expect to see at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The USAFL was hosting its Central Regional Championship in Minnesota for the first time.
“We’ve really wanted to come, not only to this great complex, but to the Twin Cities as well. We’ve been trying for about eight years, actually, in point of fact,” Barrish said.
On Saturday, a successful performance by the home team, the Minnesota Freeze, who during the season play some of the 51 teams in the nationwide league.
“You’re traveling to Denver, traveling to Austin…But to be able to have it here at home field, and, I mean, with a pitch-perfect day. too,” said Freeze defensive player Goose Kenfield, who discovered the sport watching late night TV five years ago.
“It’s between rugby and soccer on the football spectrum, but it’s just a crazy mix of everything,” Kenfield said.
The main goal of the sport: to kick the ball through tallest uprights for six points or the shorter ones for one point.
“The quality of the American players has really gone up over the past couple of years, and some of them have gone over to Australia and performed well at the regional level,” Barrish said.
Progress in the USAFL’s 25th anniversary year.
There are only a handful of facilities in the country that have the field space to host the league’s national tournament. The USAFL says they’d like to hold it at the National Sports Center in Blaine in the future.