The HFA expands from 6 teams to 9 for inaugural season


The Heartland Football Association welcomes the Southern Iowa Tigers, Minneapolis Warriors, and the Sioux Falls Venom as the 7th, 8th, and 9th members of the Heartland for the 2022 season.


The Tigers, out of Leon, Iowa will play at Central Decatur High School and are owned/coached by David Woods. The Tigers front office also includes Chief Financial Officer Shawn Johnson. Along with Woods, the Tigers coaching staff includes Offensive Coordinator Tony Short, Defensive Coordinator Carlos Yanez, and Assistant Offensive Coordinator Brandon Short.

"We wanted to be a league that welcomes and supports new teams that have a desire to see minor league football successful in their area," said Heartland President Andrew Mather. "The Tigers have demonstrated a commitment to providing an outstanding football experience for their players and fans, and we look forward to watching them grow as an organization on and off the field."

Added Mark Mackerman, Vice-President of the Heartland, “I'm excited about the recent growth of the Southern Iowa Tigers and the potential they have as an organization. The staff Woods has brought on gives them a bright outlook for their future, and will help with the growth of other teams in the HFA as well. Their location is optimal, making convenient travel for every team in our league.

According to David Woods, "We are happy to have found the perfect fit for the Tigers. As an organization, you want to be in a league full of teams that have the same vision, and we feel each team in the Heartland brings something to help build minor league football up to the level many know it can reach. We look forward to growing as a team, but we also look forward to helping the Heartland grow as a league. The Heartland carries a family-type bond and we are thankful to be a part of the 2022 inaugural year and beyond. Now that we have a home it's time to focus on putting in the work to be successful long term."


The National Champion Warriors just completed a 14-0 season that saw them win the Northern Elite Football League Championship as well as a National Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida. Minneapolis has dominated on the field since their inaugural season in 2016, with 2 NEFL Championships (2017 and 2021) and 1 CAFL Championship (2019). The Warriors were a National Championship runner-up in 2017, and NEFL runner-up in 2018. The Warriors play their home games in the twin cities area. Their administrative team consists of Aaron Anderson, Jaysen “Yogi" Howard, Krista Clausen, and coach Michael "MJ” Johnson.

"Adding a team like Minneapolis was a no-brainer to us," said Heartland President Andrew Mather. "From the first conversation we had with them, we have been impressed by their vision and their heart for minor league football, their players, community, and fans. The Warriors will have an incredible impact on and off the field in the Heartland and we are honored to work alongside them."

Heartland Vice-President Mark Mackerman added, “bringing the Warriors on board was a no-brainer for the Heartland. The Warriors present top-tier competition, and bring fun and innovative ideas to improve not only the league but our organizations within it."

According to Warriors founder Aaron Anderson, “I'm thrilled about the opportunity to work together with the owners of the Heartland Football Association. These individuals and teams share the same exciting vision as we do for the future of Minor League Football. I can't wait to get to work with these teams and build an exciting, innovative, and collaborative league for our players; the likes of which this level of football hasn't seen before."


The Venom, out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is an expansion team that will play their first year at Elk Point, South Dakota. The first-year team has named Sioux City Bandit Brandon Sheperd as their head coach. The venom organization is owned by Jay Medina.

“As we've stated many times, we want to be a home and a resource to new organizations that demonstrate a desire to be successful long term and hold the values of the Heartland,” said Mather. "Jay's vision, passion, and desire to compete is exciting to us and their location is a prime market for 11 man minor league football. We look forward to partnering with the Venom for years to come."

According to Medina, “I would like to thank the Heartland Football Association for this acceptance to be able to participate in this organization and the opportunity to represent them. It is a privilege to work with an elite organization. We are proud to represent the Heartland Association and organize an elite minor league network in the Midwest. With all our hard work and dedication with team Venom, we are excited to dedicate our passion for football to this work. Once again, thank you for this opportunity to let us put Sioux Falls, South Dakota on the map.

With the addition of the Tigers, Warriors, and Venom, the Heartland owners have voted to conclude expansion for the 2022 season. "When we started this, we were willing to get started with 4 teams," said Mather. "We have been extremely lucky to have 5 more organizations that fit our vision and passion for minor league football come into the picture. We are confident that we have a league that will create incredible competition and opportunities for our players”