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Inclusive women’s AFL team brings the game to the US
The gay-friendly team recently joined Victorian LGBTI sporting organisation Team Melbourne, showing their support for inclusion and diversity in Australian sporting clubs.
Committee member and former player Rebecca Towns told the Star Observer the team looked forward to the challenge of playing in the US.
“What better way to set a benchmark than to become the first women’s AFL team to travel internationally and play in America,” Towns said.
“They’ve got 12 clubs throughout the States that have got a women’s team, so it’ll be a great experience for our players.”
AFL has been gaining in popularity in the US, with a whole range of men’s teams existing alongside the women’s teams the Spurs will compete against. The Australian Football League provides annual funding to the USAFL, the sport’s governing body in the US.
The Spurs will travel to a number of cities across the US playing against local AFL teams, including competing in a round robin tournament in New York against the New York Magpies, the Boston Demons and the Baltimore Washington Eagles.
Towns said it was important for the Spurs to also be working with the local teams on community activities, including helping out with charity events and running school football clinics.
“We like to put back into the community. It’s not just a holiday for us, we want to make a bit of a difference and see if we can contribute,” Towns said.
Towns also said the Spurs were embracing their status as an LGBTI-friendly club.
“We just thought it’d be a good idea to join forces and get our name out there as an inclusive team,” she said, encouraging other teams to be more openly LGBTI-friendly.
“Our club is pretty inclusive, whether you be gay, straight or otherwise. We’re pretty welcoming, we’re not judgemental—I guess that’s why a lot of people come to our club.”
There’s still a lot to do to prepare for the trip including raising funds to get the team, coaches and supporters over the US, and the Spurs have set up a fundraising site to help get them over the line.
Visit stalbansspurs.com.au for more information about the St Albans Spurs or to find out how to get involved.