Andy Vanica '00 loves his footy. "Footy" is Australian Rules Football. Andy, a part time owner of ski manufacturer Liberty Skis and sales manager for Acclaro marketing, traveled last summer with the US Revolution national team to Australia to compete with footy teams from around the globe. He is also president of the Milwaukee Bombers Australian Rules football club.
"The International Cup is played every three years," Vanica says. "This was the third event and was attended by 16 nations: USA, New Zealand, South Africa, Papau New Guinea, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Nauru, Inida, Canada, Finland, China, Samoan, and the Peace Team (Israel and Palestine)."
Off the field and after hours, all was global kumbaya and real-time social networking, with feasting and dancing and serenading and such. At game-time, not so much with the warm fuzzies.
"Footy is a full contact sport," Vanica says. "Some players wear a mouth guard for protection - otherwise, that is it. Games are played on a 180-by-120-yard field with goal posts at each end. Teams are comprised of 18 players on the field for each team (36 total), with four quarters of 20 minutes each. It is a rough game. in the past year I have torn stomach muscles, dislocated my shoulder, and torn foot ligaments - these are just the injuries that have kept me off the field!"
His Wildcat soccer days inform his Bomber footy game today, says Vanica, who was named to the US Footy All-Star Team for the past season. "The soccer background gave me the kicking and running skills, and the other American sports gave me catching ability...I'm passionate about my footy."
Written by John Syme, Davidson Journal, Volume 38, Winter 2009.