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April 7, 2020 64 min

Outside 50 with your hosts Rick Shaibani & Wayne Kraska.

In 1997 an end of year tournament was held in Cincinnati Ohio with teams from the USA and one from Toronto. At the after party held in a far away barn across the state line in Indiana, a meeting was held late'ish in the evening, out the back of the barn from the rowdy crowd. "The Meeting Behind the Barn". That meeting lit by one overhead light and with a group of about 10 footy lovers from around the country, became the birth of the USAFL as we know it today. On this Outside 50 podcast we hear the stories of three attendees of that very meeting nearly 24 years ago. Paul 'Plugger' O'Keefe, Rich Mann and Mike Powers recount the events leading up to that weekend and night, and much of the history they made soon after growing the game of Aussie Rules Football across the USA to what it is today.

From around a dozen games in 1997, the games total grew to over a hundred in just a few years, thanks mostly to these three footy lovers and many other club founders around the USA. And the event held at the end of the year, named on that 1997 weekend and won by the Cincinnati Dockers team, was the USAFL National Championships. The USAFL Naationals has now become the biggest Australian Rules Football event in the world.

Paul, Rich and Mikey, chat with Outside 50 podcast host Wayne Kraska about those formative years, the characters they remember and the lifelong friendships they made. The people that made the USAFL what it is today, and we are pleased to say they are still going strong and still playing, at least at the Nationals. ;)

From the vision of Paul O'Keefe and the support of Rich and Mikey plus, and the others at that meeting and club leaders that followed soon after, we should applaud them often, pay respect and due acknowledgment, as without them many of us would not be enjoying footy as we know it in the USA today.

'The Meeting Behind the Barn' is a historic story of footy growth, passion and the love of the game, that we hope this tale will live for as long as the game is played.

Find this and all future podcasts on iHeart Radio, Spotify, iTunes, Google, Alexa, Stitcher and always on

Interested in being on the Outside 50 podcast? Drop us a line at

Thank also to Play Aussie USA for supporting this project from day one.

Other links of interest:

Visit the USAFL website here

In business? Join the USAFL LinkedIn page

We also invite you to join the USA Supporters of AFL and USAFL here.

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