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Sports in Jacksonville facts for kids

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Jacksonville is home to a number of professional sports teams, and the city has a long history of athletics. The Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) compete at the major league level. Additionally, the PGA Tour is headquartered in the suburb of Ponte Vedra Beach, where it hosts The Players Championship every year.

In addition, Jacksonville has a number of minor league sports teams. These include the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp baseball team, the Jacksonville IceMen ice hockey team, the Jacksonville Sharks indoor football team, the Jacksonville Axemen rugby league team, and the Jacksonville Giants basketball team.

Jacksonville is also home to two universities, Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida, which compete in NCAA Division I. Several college sporting events are also held in Jacksonville annually.

Semi-pro and amateur sports

Rugby league

Rugby League Football, has a unique presence in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Axemen, founded in 2006, are one of the most successful Rugby League Football teams in the United States, both on and off the field. They currently play in the new USA Rugby League. They previously played in the American National Rugby League (AMRNL) from 2006–2010, advancing to the playoffs four times in five years and winning the championship in 2010. Beginning in 2011, the Axemen oversee a reserve grade competition, the Southeastern Rugby League Championship, contested by three feeder teams, including the Jacksonville Hatchets.

The Axemen play at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida, which has also hosted a number of international matches and training camps. UNF hosted the Rugby League Atlantic Cup, a tournament between emerging rugby league nations in North America, in 2009 and 2010. In 2008 the school hosted the "Australia Day Challenge" between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Leeds Rhinos, which featured Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe and drew nearly 13,000 spectators.

Rugby union

There are three amateur rugby union clubs in the city. The Jacksonville Rugby Football Club was founded in 1972. The Jacksonville Women's Rugby Club, "The Sinners", are the women's rugby side. The UNF Deadbirds is a club team at the University of North Florida, consisting of UNF students and other college students in the area.

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