North America to North Lakes

American and Canadian juniors have picked up Aussie Rules at North Lakes juniors.

Plenty has been spoken of American recruits into AFL in recent years,.

With the development of Canadian and Swans premiership player, Mike Pyke ,as well as North Melbourne signing former college basketballer, Eric Wallace this season, there’s no doubt that there’s plenty of talented footballers across the Pacific, whether they know it or not.

But it’s not just the older guys from North America warming to AFL, with two kids from the US playing in North Lakes Juniors.

Zach Sanderson and Zach Ecker are from the US and Canada, respectively, and both are keen footy players now.

Sanderson, who plays in the U10 side at North Lakes, had only visited Australia once in his life before moving here in June last year.

It didn’t take the youngster long to get hooked on AFL, after seeing it on television for the first time this season.

 With an Australian dad, Paul, who grew up in Newcastle, the code was not completely foreign for him, but young Zach had never seen it before a year ago.

Zach has a strong sporting pedigree, with his dad having moved to the US to play tennis before meeting Zach’s mum, a Tennessee native.

The Sanderson family took Zach and his brothers to their first AFL game at Metricon earlier this year ,to see the SUNS upset St Kilda.

A little north of the Sandersons, from Canada, is six year-old Zack Ecker.

Ecker plays in the U8 North Lakes side, and was born in Australia to Canadian parents, before moving back to Canada at age two for 18 months.

It wasn’t long after he returned to Australia that Ecker picked up a Sherrin and joined up to Auskick.

Now, in his second year playing AFL and is loving every second of it.

North Lakes secretary, Darren Roy, said bringing cultures together was a major focus for the club, situated in a highly diverse area.

“There are lots of different cultures so we are hoping that we can get some more kids involved with the club that haven’t grown up being exposed to AFL,” Roy said.

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