Football with an Aussie twist

by Becca HarrisStaff Writer

As sports continue to be a main focal point in the United States, several men with Simpson ties are bringing a little bit of the down under to Des Moines.

Tyler Kamerman came across the game of Australian football through Sara Routh, a 1999 Simpson graduate, while living in Los Angeles with his brother, Wes. Once on the team, he played with Simpson alumnus Colter Allison.

When Wes and Tyler Kamerman both moved back to Iowa recently, they started their own Australian football team, the Des Moines Roosters.

“After my dad got sick last fall, my brother moved back to Iowa and my wife and I followed shortly thereafter,” Tyler Kamerman said. “Once my brother moved to Des Moines in March we got serious about starting a team. We found Paul Fradd, our token Aussie, through my coach back in LA and that’s really where we got started.”

Fradd said the game is very similar to soccer in that it is free flowing. Yet, it is also very much different, as it combines soccer, football and rugby.

The game is quite complex, but the three men say that it is worth it. Teams are comprised of 18 players on a 150-meter by 100-meter field. The ball they use is a cross between an NFL football and a rugby ball. The game begins when the ball is bounced in the center of the field and a player from each opposing team knocks the ball with their hand to one of their running players.

“In this game there is a lot of running,” Fradd said. “You need to have endurance and speed and skill. The game is fast and high scoring.”

The ball is moved by kicking it towards a team goal. These kicks are similar to punts in distance, but not height. The ball can also be kicked to members of the team, similar to soccer.

“If one of your players catches the ball that is called a ‘mark’ and the player can play on or stop and try and kick it to one of their players,” Fradd said.

Since their return to Iowa and their development of the new team, the men have been working hard to recruit new players. They practice once or twice a week with practice sessions for new players to help them get the hang of the game, and the team is starting to come together.

“Right now there is no league here in Des Moines, but we hope to change that by next year,” Tyler Kamerman said. “Our goal is to set up a Metro league, so that we can play games without having to travel. For example it would be great if Simpson (College), Drake and ISU all started teams. The “old guys” would then have a team and then each week one would play two and three play four and vice versa.

“Then those teams will combine to form the Des Moines Roosters when we travel to or when one of the MAFL (Midwest Australian Football League) teams come to Des Moines.”

The Roosters are hoping to get a lot of different people excited and involved in the game.

“Anyone who wants to get involved can contact us at [email protected] or go to our web site,,” Wes Kamerman said.