AFW Announces 2019 HS ELITE Team to Compete and Tour in Italy

0 Submitted by on Fri, 08 February 2019, 11:34

USA-AFW ELITE Take the Field in Italy

AFW Announces ELITE HS Roster that Will Compete vs. Italian National 19U Team and Tour Italy – American Football Worldwide has announced their ELITE team consisting of high school players from across the United States who will travel to Italy between March 23 and March 31, 2019 to tour and ultimately compete with the Italian Federation of American Football national 19U team. This special international game will take place in Varese just outside of Milan, Italy on Saturday, March 30th, 2019.  This AFW ELITE game effectively ‘kicks off’ the 2019 season of American Football with many anxious to get football going again.

“We are very excited about this talented and adventurous group of student-athletes who have chosen to represent the USA and American football overseas,” stated AFW President Jim Barnes. “These young men are admirable not only because of their dedication and achievements in the demanding game of football, but also because of their curiosity and ambition to get out to explore the world with a willingness to be open to and understand other cultures.  They are a special group.”

AFW ELITE Team Members on Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Florence Italy

American Football Worldwide’s ELITE team comes from every region of the United States. Eleven different states are represented on the 34-man roster. Players hail from coast-to-coast including Massachusetts to California and Minnesota to Florida.  Illinois has the most representatives with ten team members on the roster and California is second sending seven players.  Florida and Ohio are represented by three players and Indiana has two from perennial power Carmel HS.  The states of Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri and New York are also represented.

AFW ELITE in St. Peters Square, Vatican City

Many team and family members will meet in AFW departure cities of New York, Chicago or Los Angeles – or fly with family from from their own city – departing Saturday, March 23rd with everyone meeting in Rome on Sunday morning, March 24th.  In the week to follow players and family members will receive guided educational tours through many of the historical icons of Italy including the Roman Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain along with St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum.  A couple days later the group will move north through Tuscany with stops in wonderfully preserved medieval Siena, Florence – the ‘Birthplace of the Renaissance’, as well as enjoying a day on the Ligurian Coast in picturesque Cinque Terra.  The ambitious and fun tour concludes with a stay at the tip of famous Lake Como just north of Milan along with a tour of the financial and fashion hub of Italy.  An excursion to Lugano, Switzerland is also a possibility

Intermixed with the tremendous educational value of the trip the team will work to coordinate schemes and timing in an effort to put together a strong game plan in less than a week’s time for their Italian hosts. “Meeting one another on Sunday and playing an international game six days later against another country’s national best will be a formidable challenge.  However, we are definitely excited about the potential for this team.  They appear to be a powerful and talented group.  As with our past AFW ELITE teams, I believe they will coordinate our game while growing closer as a team ultimately representing our game and their communities with honor,” stated Coach Barnes.

The Italian national 19U team comes together a couple times annually to train and compete against other national teams as well as in occasional European and international tournaments.  Over the years of visiting Italy, AFW competitors have seen the sure and steady improvement by players and programming in Italy.  “The Italian Federation of American Football has done a great job improving the level of play of their U19 players.  They have really demonstrated strong progress.  I truly believe the incentive of playing our AFW ELITE teams annually the last several years, along with the competition and co-practices that have taken place, has helped raise the level of play in Italy.  From our point-of-view they are closing the gap,” shared Coach Barnes.

Reflecting back on his own squad Barnes commented, “the character and well-roundedness of these young men excite our football staff.  You have to admire their willingness to take on take on the challenge of representing our great game on foreign soil against the proud national all-star team of Italy. Observing them grow from the unique education that only international travel offers is very rewarding. What also makes this truly special is the unifying experience we will all have once these young men put on their helmets and shoulder pads preparing to go to work to represent the USA.  We always find that when the guys put on their gear to practice football, even though we are in Italy, they instantly feel ‘at home’.  At the end of the week their emotions will peak when they run out wearing the Red, White and Blue fired up to compete on Saturday March 30th.”

US ELITE ROSTER vs. Italy 19U National Team – March 30, 2019

First Last Def Off Ht Wt High School Hometown, ST
Elliot Avidane CB QB 6’1 210 Schreiber Senior Port Washington, NY
Jordan Berry LB RB 5’10 210 The Haverford School Haverford, PA
Michael Boland CB WR 6’1 175 Huntley Huntley, IL
Dominic Capecci LB/DE TE 6’ 245 Sacred Heart-Griffin Springfield, IL
Dominick Cate DT OC 6’3 280 Carmel Carmel, IN
Bryson Clark ILB FB 6’1 220 Juniata Mifflintown, PA
Wesley Cline LB OG 5’10 195 Littleton Littleton, MA
Caleb Evans DL HB 6’0 227 IMG Academy Bradenton, FL
Josh Evans LB TE 6’0 205 IMG Academy Bradenton, FL
Daniel Fitzmorris DT OL 6’3 295 Notre Dame Los Angeles, CA
Anthony Glancey DT OG 6’2 290 Alleman Catholic East Moline, IL
Zachary Golden CB SL 6’ 205 Hampshire Hampshire, IL
Jonathan Gordon CB WR 6’2 175 Francis Parker San Diego, CA
Andrew Graves OL 6’2 265 Notre Dame Sun Valley, CA
Ryan Horne OLB WR 6’ 165 Francis Parker Poway, CA
Bobby Inserra CB SL 5’9 160 Maine South Park Ridge, IL
Franshun Jordan OLB RB 5’11 175 Willowbrook Villa Park, IL
Noah Klubnik SS SL 5’7 155 Orange Seven Hills, OH
Matt Knudtson DT OT 6’1” 270 Willowbrook Villa Park, IL
Alex McAvoy DT FB 6’1 215 Geneseo Geneseo, IL
Babatunde Motoni DT OL 6’ 235 Orange Woodmere, OH
Byron Paige Jr CB SL 5’7 165 Colonial Orlando, FL
Anthony Palmere DE WR 6’5 225 John Carroll Churchville, MD
Alexandre Pavlov OL 6’4 230 Maine South Park Ridge, IL
Jonathan Rice DE TE 6’3 205 Bracken County Augusta, KY
Oakley Roessler SS RB 5’10 185 McDonald County Pineville, MO
Eli Samuelson FS QB 6’3 185 Cedar Mountain Comfrey, MN
Ryan Sanborn K/P/S QB 6’2 205 Francis Parker San Diego, CA
Noah Schneider LB FB 6’ 175 Francis Parker La Mesa, CA
Josh Schumann SS WR 5’10 185 Carmel Carmel, IN
Joshua Sletta LB RB 5’9 180 Madelia HS Madelia, MN
Shelton Smith LB OT 6’ 220 Orange Woodmere, OH
Gabriel Thomas LB RB 5’10 200 The Bishops School San Diego, CA
Ross Valenti ILB TE 6’3 227 Mount Carmel Chicago, IL


For additional information or to recommend a player for a future AFW ELITE tour and international game contact AFW through

AFW ELITE vs. International National Teams This game will be the 9th contest between AFW ELITE and American football teams in Europe. In March of 2013 and 2014 AFW ELITE traveled to France for a similar educational and cultural tour defeating the French national U19 team and then their national champion team in two consecutive years. The past four years AFW ELITE accepted invitations from the Italian Federation of American Football earning victories over the Italian national 19U team.  AFW and its players were also part of making history being a part of the inaugural contest between US high school players and Ireland’s national team.  AFW ELITE has brought two US Select teams in Ireland and hope to return in the near future.

About Coach Barnes Jim Barnes, sixteen years a head football coach at the NCAA Division III level, will lead the USA representative squad. Coach Barnes has been active in promoting American football internationally since he first traveled his collegiate team to Italy in 2004. He has also traveled his and other teams to the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain and France.  In 2007 he was part of an IFAF – USA Football coaching education tour that did clinic work in four European countries (France, England, Denmark and Sweden).  He has also been a part of other clinic and related-American football events in other European countries, Mexico and Nigeria. In January of 2015 Coach Barnes served as the head coach for the IFAF (International Federation of American Football) U19 World Development Team that nearly defeated a USA Football high school select team at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

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