AFW ELITE HS Select Tours
Frequently Asked Questions – Student-Athletes
Am I eligible to be a member of ‘USA AFW ELITE’ and travel to compete in Europe?
If you are a high school senior you are eligible for this international game and tour. Current seniors can attend and treat this game like a post-high school season ‘all-star’ game. we have traveled with juniors, but you should seek approval from your high school coach such that your senior year eligibility will not be affected. Rules vary from state-to-state which as a junior is your governing body.
To qualify for this trip, a student-athlete needs to meet this selection criteria. You must:
– have been a starter for your high school team on offense, defense or as a specialist,
– have never been subject to formal school or team discipline,
– submit the nomination/recommendation form (downloadable from website) or a letter from your head coach or coordinator at your high school verifying the above and addressing ability and character to represent the US in international touring and competition (to secure a spot on the roster this can come after your register),
– submit a registration form and deposit as soon as possible.
What is included in the tour?
Please see updated tour inclusions which continually improve. Basically all of your necessary expenses are covered from the time you board the AFW group flight (or meet us in Europe) until you return home except for a handful of “your choice” meals when out touring. All other meals are included. Drinks are provided at breakfast. (At dinner, drinks besides water are not included). All team ground transportation, accommodations and admission to sites on scheduled tours are included. The tour provides bi-lingual speaking tour guides. Student-athletes will receive practice, game and travel apparel, however you must supply the hard equipment (helmet, shoulder pads and leg pads) often made available through your high school. Finally, you will need ‘spending money’ for souvenirs, snacks, drinks at dinner and some tips (customary to tip tour guide and motor coach driver).
What is the financial cost of the trip?
Please see current pricing information available under Tour Overview and Traveler Information forms. The final price to you will vary depending on whether you use all cash/checks or electronic debit/credit to pay for a portion of your tour. In addition, there is varying pricing between the full package/flight included tour or if you will be flying with a parent and/or other family members and meeting us in Europe.
Can family members join in on the tour?
Yes, we encourage parents, grandparents and siblings to join us in visiting this historically fascinating, beautiful parts of the world. At the end of a special and phenomenal week of touring family members will witness their relative play in a very rare and special game representing the USA against another country’s national team. For family members there is slightly higher pricing due to additional touring as well as access to our full-time tour guides who serve as traveling concierges during practice times. In addition, the athletes save on some student pricing discounts we receive touring, etc.
How will I be able to afford this great opportunity?
Take the time to kindly and properly ask those who love and appreciate you for their support. There are various appeals you can make and fund-raising ideas you can implement:
o Ask family members, relatives, businesses in your community, colleagues of your parents to make contributions on your behalf utilizing the AFW Sponsorship Letter (FUND-RAISING Sponsorship Form – ITALY ’20 and (FUND-RAISING Sponsorship Form – IRELAND Tour).
o Ask people who care about you to make a sponsorship contribution to you in lieu of a traditional Christmas gift or for your upcoming graduation that you can apply to the trip.
o Send out a separate request or sponsorship letter to others who have helped you in your development as a football player and as a person. In addition, local boosters of your high school team may be so inclined to help you be a part of this journey and then share your story and leadership with younger players in the program.
o Ask your parents to help you identify business and service organizations in your community to whom you can write for a gift. Offer to come in to speak to their members about the experience from an educational, cultural and athletic standpoint.
o Ask for a ‘loan’ from your parents for a certain percentage of the trip and then secure a job after the football season to pay them back.
How do we prepare to win? Are there any practices before departure?
Due to the likelihood we will not be able to get together as a team to practice before departure, we have daily practices on our schedule while we are in Europe. As a part of USA-AFW ELITE we take skilled and ‘football-intelligent’ players who can learn and adapt fast. In previous years, we have been extremely impressed with how fast the players pic up our system. We expect to install enough schemes and conflicts based on our personnel such that we will give our international opponents problems. Specifically, for our contest we expect to play straight forward, hard-nosed American football. Value the ball on offense and take it away on defense – and we will be fine.
In addition, in the weeks preceding the contest we expect that you will take pride in keeping yourself in or training to get in the proper physical condition to play American football.
Offensive and defensive playbook will be distributed electronically a week to ten days before departure.
From whom do I get my football equipment?
It will be your responsibility to secure ‘hard gear’. As has been the case with our past travelers, hopefully your high school football coach will agree to let you use your equipment from this season one more time next April. Get this clarified as soon as you can and before your coach sends the gear away after the season for reconditioning. It is very unlikely that we will be able to provide to you any of the hard gear necessary to play contact football. Beyond the hard gear, we will be providing practice shorts and a practice jersey.
What football schemes will we use?
Our coordinators will put together fundamentally solid offensive, defensive and special teams schemes. Of course, the quarterbacks and other skill players we recruit for this trip may impact our strategies. We plan to highlight your skills – value the football – and let your techniques, passion for the game and pride in American football help us earn a hard-fought, ‘road’ victory.
What if I intend to be involved in a sport during the spring season?
This is something you will have to look into and resolve. You may have to decide which activity or experience you value more. Hopefully, your spring coaches will support your participation in this unique athletic/educational opportunity and then welcome you back.
When will we depart and return?
Please see the tour overview for travel dates. On tours in past years, about half our team had the tour dates fall during their spring break. The other half made arrangements with their school to be away and take in the benefits this once-in-a-lifetime international educational and cross-cultural athletic adventure entails. In sum, we have had many student-athletes who are in good academic standing their senior year and join the tour missing one week of school. In many cases, teachers and administrators will be understanding and supportive of such an outstanding educational experience. It is up to you to make appropriate academic arrangements at your high school.
What will the itinerary be like?
Please see this year’s tour description. Generally, we fly out late on a Saturday afternoon arriving in Europe early on Sunday morning. After gathering our luggage we usually head out to immediately tour and enjoy our time in Europe. After a challenging first day, our first night of sleep will be incredible. The following day staff and players are typically up early for morning practice as we install our base schemes on offense and defense. Parents and family members can sleep in a little or enjoy a stroll in the local area. The remainder of the day we spend as much time as possible touring and immersing ourselves in the local culture. We usually go into the evening then enjoy a late dinner and share stories into the night. Each day following is much the same – football will take up a couple hours for the boys but the rest of the day is about learning of, living in and enjoying the country we are visiting. At the end of the week Saturday, is International Game Day where we demonstrate how the great game of American football should be and is played by US players! After the game we look to have time to socialize with our opponents from the opposing national team – which is definitely a festive tour highlight – before heading out for a final celebration. On Sunday morning we return home to the USA loaded with tremendous stories to share with other loved ones and friends at home!
How does this affect my college recruiting and NCAA eligibility?
First, if you are not competing at the collegiate level this is an incredible game in which to conclude your football playing career. You do not have future eligibility concerns.
If you are considering continuing your football playing career at the collegiate level this tour and game can be a great experience and aid in your preparation and development for the college level. Overall, we believe this experience would make you more attractive to college coaches. There are no limitations on you in taking this trip and playing – you can go, period. In addition, you can fund raise to help defray the direct tour costs as long as you do not accept donations from college boosters.
Can I fundraise my “spending money” as well?
You can do that as long as it is not raised through the AFWEF which cannot give back to you funds raised above the direct tour costs for spending money or any other reason. You will have to bring your own ‘spending money’. At the same time, relatives can ‘gift’ to you any amount they choose.
What is football like in Europe and around the world?
“American football” is how our game is known around the world to distinguish it from their football – what we know as soccer. There are now 60+ countries in the world with Federations for American Football. The game has had its longest and steadiest presence in Europe for many decades now with as many as 900+ club teams playing American football. Some in the world, and many in Europe are quite fascinated with, and even fanatical about, American football. In the last 10 years there has been a very steady upward trend to the quality of play in American football internationally. This includes players who grew up outside the US both being offered Division I scholarships and some now gaining access to the NFL. With its strong ties to the USA and many great football players and coaches of Italian descent, Italy has had a long fascination and appreciation for American football. Ireland has a very athletic mentality and with more physical sports such as rugby, Gaelic football and hurling a part of their sport culture they are well-suited for American football.
How good will the European team be?
I expect our opponents to have a solid team as this is the best their country has to offer. They will be some rugged and skilled players. There is no doubt that over the years we are seeing the European’s improve. Like our USA-AFW ELITE team a test will be to see which team comes together faster in practices and ultimately who plays lower and longer. Let’s prepare to bring bring our US ‘A’ Game.
How do I secure a passport?
Generally, visit your local post office to secure the necessary form. You will also need a government issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license), your birth certificate, two current pictures of yourself (can be secured at Walgreens, etc.; should be 2×2 with a white background) and the required fee. For more information, visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/ .
How do I join?
Meet the eligibility criteria, follow-up on its requirements, download a registration form ITALY ’20 Tour Athlete Registration Form or IRELAND ’18 Tour Athlete Registration Form send it in with the requisite deposit asap. If someone meets the selection criteria, the roster will be filled on a first to register-and deposit basis.