About the Club
The Portland Steelheads (men) and Sockeyes (women) represent Portland, Oregon in the sport of Australian Rules Football, or “footy”. We are a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We play at several different levels throughout the year:
The United States Australian Football League is the national body for the sport, and from spring to fall we play against other USAFL clubs from cities around the country. Sometimes we play against single clubs, other times in larger tournaments, both here in Portland and on the road. The USAFL season culminates with the National Championships, a two-day tournament with over 40 clubs from around the country. Both the Sockeyes and the Steelheads won back-to-back National Championships in their divisions in 2015 and 2016!
Also during the warmer months we put on the Portland Australian Football League, where our players split into four local teams and play against each other. This gives us more opportunities to play here in Portland. In the PAFL we play on a smaller field and with 9 players per side, instead of the normal 18. That means games are quicker, more high-scoring, and every player gets more chances to touch the ball. At the end of the season the top two teams face off in the PAFL Grand Final.
Throughout the year we also play a recreational form of footy called Ausball. Ausball is coed and non-contact. It’s a great way to learn the basic skills of the of the game in a fun and low-pressure environment.
Finally, this winter (2016-2017) for the first time we will be playing indoor recreational footy. Like Ausball, indoor footy is non-contact, coed, and a great way to try the game for the first time.
Off the field, the club holds events throughout the year. They include regular viewings of professional footy games, activities celebrating Australian holidays and culture, and other social events.
- 1990: The AFL stages an exhibition match between the Melbourne Demons and West Coast Eagles at Civic Stadium (now Providence Park). Future club founder Scotty Johnson is in attendance.
- 2003: The club is founded as the Portland Power, after founding club members acquire a set of jerseys from the Port Adelaide Power of the AFL.
- 2010: The club takes its first full team to compete at Nationals.
- 2011: The club announces its new name as the Steelheads and new uniforms.
- 2013: The club begins recruiting female players.
- 2014: The club brings its first female players to Nationals.
- 2015: The women’s team is named the Portland Sockeyes.
- 2015: The Steelheads win the men’s division 3 national championship, while the Sockeyes win the women’s division 2 national championship.
- 2016: The Sockeyes and Steelheads repeat as women’s division 2 and men’s division 3 national champions.
- 2016: Sockeyes’ player Jess Blecher is the first Portland player named to the US women’s national team.
Australian Rules Football is a fast, exciting, and fun sport to play. Every year sees new faces join the club, and we’re always excited to share our passion for the game and teach people how to play. Our club is comprised of Aussies and Americans alike, and we welcome new players regardless of experience level. Everyone gets to play in our games, the best way to learn is to play. Learn more about footy, or contact us to get more information about joining the club.