Semi-Pro Football Season Officially Opens And Closes Next Weekend

January 14, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
Confusing? It isn¹t really when you consider the fact the semi-pro level of the sport actually runs for 12 months of the year in order to facilitate venues for the 720 adult amateur teams across the country now playing in more than 60 leagues during two different seasons. The American Football Association, a 501(c) (3) public tax exempt non-profit corporation in it's 26th year of operation serving as the national association for adult amateur (semi-pro) teams and leagues, monitors the game action of all 720 teams and provides a weekly power-rating service for its member teams throughout the year.

The AFA announced that this coming weekend (January 14/15) will officially mark both the opening and closing of the semi-pro football seasons in the United States. On those dates we will find several teams squaring off in the final National Bowl Games of the 2005 fall/winter season in Florida, while on the same weekend the AFA's Southern States Football League will be the first league to signal the start of the national association's spring/summer kickoff classic.

Florida in January seems to be the state of choice for the end of season National Bowl Games because the warm weather climate attracts northern, Midwestern and eastern semi-pro organizations looking to reward their teams for outstanding seasons by sending them south. Mid-January in Florida is ideal because many of the teams in the southern states play early season schedules whereas they're looking for pre-season action - even against northern teams who may just be coming off their playoff seasons. While these post season games are basically exhibition in nature, they give some real incentive to teams who may have won their respective league championships or post season tournaments and want an opportunity to play someone in a warm weather climate bowl game.

Much of the credit for organizing these mid-January bowl games go to the efforts of several AFA Hall of Famers. Dave Rice, commissioner of the Southern States Football League and a 2005 AFA hall of fame inductee, collaborated with another AFA/HOF Legend, Jim Nugent of Chicago (National Football Events) to finalize the arrangements that will see a full day of semi-pro football action taking place in Fort Pierce Florida on National Bowl Weekend.

Scheduled games in Fort Pierce on Jan. 14th are: East Coast (FL) Reapers (vs.) Sea Port (GA) Sharks (at noon); Kankakee (IL) Seminoles (vs.) Fort Pierce (FL) Fire (3:30 pm); Brooklyn (NY) Mariners (vs.) Southern California Steelers (7 pm). The Brooklyn coach, Pudgie Walsh (AFA/HOF class of ('87), and his Mariners won the AFA National Championship in 2003. The games at the Fort Pierce Lawnwood Sports Complex will be hosted by Fort Pierce Fire owner Kurt Holden and his staff.

Down the road south a bit to the Miami, area semi-pro fans can find recent 2005 AFA/HOF inductee coach Norris Jackson showcasing his Detroit Michigan Seminoles playing against the Minnesota Thunderbirds in the Orange Bowl Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Want more semi-pro action during the national semi-pro bowl game weekend?
Travel a little further South of Miami and stop by the Harris Field in
Homestead Florida starting on Friday the 13th to see what still another AFA Hall of Fame Legend has put together for semi-pro football fans at seasons end. Jesse Wiggins' (class of '97) owner of the Miami Knights will play host to 6 different teams starting on Friday night at 7pm. The schedule for the games in Homestead are as follows: New England Knights vs. Broward County (FL) Raiders (7pm Friday); Miami (FL) Bulls vs. Orange County (FL)Falcons (7pm); on Sunday afternoon it will be the Indianapolis (IN) Hoosiers vs. the Carolina (SC) Express; and at 7pm the Prince William Monarchs will play the Georgia Xtreme.

By mid-week, following the National Bowl Game Weekend, the American Football Association will have concluded its research for the AFA's top semi-pro football team in the nation and is expected to release the name of their 26th Annual National Championship Team on Friday, January 20th. Included in the research process to select this years AFA National Champion, the AFA will have reviewed the results of nearly 4,000 semi-pro games played during the 2005 season, post season tournaments/bowl games and tabulated the results for the power-rating of member teams.

The AFA member team named as the 2005 season National Champs for the AAA level will receive a banner depicting them as the AFA’s best for 2005 and their players and coaches names will be engraved on the AFA's Arthur S. Arkush Memorial Cup. Over the past 25 years there have been 1,277 names engraved on the Arkush Cup. Additionally, there is a special plate with the names of the 500 individuals previously inducted into the AFA/HOF in the past quarter century. The Cup, in its lighted showcase, stands nearly 7 feet tall, is two feet wide and symbolizes annual "Number One Team Excellence" on the semi-pro level of America's greatest sport - FOOTBALL.

About the American Football Association

The AFA is dedicated to the advancement of semi-pro/minor league football throughout the United States and serves as the National Organization for non-professional leagues and teams from coast-to-coast. For more information about the AFA, please visit their Web site:

Contact: Dave Burch, Director of Communications, American Football Association, 877-624-4485 or