American Football Worldwide has announced the representative team of high school football players from across the United States who will travel to Italy between March 29th and April 6th, 2015 to tour and ultimately compete with the national U19 team of Italy. This historic contest, pitting the Italian Federation of American Football (national governing body) U19 team of Italy versus an American high school all-star team will take place on Saturday, April 4th, 2015 in Milan, Italy.
“Just assembling this team that will have the opportunity and responsibility to represent American football in Italy has been such a rewarding experience in and of itself – and the tour hasn’t even started,” stated AFW President Jim Barnes. “It has been uplifting getting to know some incredible young men from wonderfully supportive families who share a sense of adventure in wanting to explore the world. They also excite our staff in their eagerness to take on the challenge of representing our great game on foreign soil against a very respectable national all-star team.”
The Italian national U19 team is coached by Paolo Borchini from the famed Parma Panthers American Football club that has won four of the last five senior Italian Football League senior national championships. The Italian U19 team will be using this camp and game to prepare for the European Series B championship that take place this summer.
American Football Worldwide’s ELITE team comes from a true cross-section of the United States and represents nearly every corner and region of the country. Twenty-three different states are represented on the 42-man roster. Players hail from coast-to-coast including New York to Arizona, Louisiana to Washington, Texas to Minnesota and with states in between including North Carolina, Tennessee and Oklahoma. California has the most representatives with seven on the roster. Indiana has five representatives and Maryland, North Carolina and Colorado are represented by three players each on the US roster.
Team members will meet in Rome on the morning of Monday, March 30th. In the coming week the players, who will be joined by some family members and fans, will tour many of the historical icons of Italy including the Colosseum and Forum in Rome along with St. Peter’s Basilica and museums in Vatican City. Days later the group will move north through Tuscany with stops in Siena and Florence. The tour concludes with a stay at the tip of famous Lake Como just north of the Milan where the game will take place on April 4th.
Intermixed with the tremendous educational value of the trip the team will refine football skills and work to coordinate schemes and timing in an effort to put together a formidable game plan for the Italian hosts. “Meeting one another and putting together an effective and well-coordinated game plan in less than a week will be a formidable challenge. However, from the research we have done, conversations we have had and film we have viewed we are excited about the potential for this team. It is clear the young men are committed and I believe the focus to excel will be there,” stated Coach Barnes.
Jim Barnes, sixteen years a head football coach at the NCAA Division III level, will lead the 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. He has also been a part of football events in other European countries, Mexico and Nigeria. This January Coach Barnes served as the head coach for the IFAF (International Federation of American Football) World Team that competed against a USA Football high school select team at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, on January 31, 2015.
Jim Barnes added, “Observing the young men who a part of our AFW USA ELITE team grow from the unique education that only international travel can offer will be a great thrill once again. They will all have different reactions through their previous upbringing, but I know it will be tremendously rewarding for them. However, what also makes this great is the ‘grounding’ and ‘unifying’ experience we all have once these young men put on their helmets and shoulder pads and put their cleats in the grass. At those times, we will feel ‘at home’. Our guys will experience a peak emotion when we run out wearing the Red, White and Blue to compete on Saturday April 4th.”
US ELITE ROSTER
vs. Italy April 4th, 2015 (Milan, Italy)
|First||Last||DPos||O Pos||Ht||Wt||High School||Hometown, ST|
|Rasheed||Benton||CB||ATH||5’7||171||Washington||Sioux Falls, SD|
|Cody||Blair||FB||5’9||220||Highlands Ranch||Lone Tree, CO|
|Jeffrey||Butler||OL||6’3||270||St. Vincent Pallotti||Fort Washington, MD|
|Joseph||Czelusniak||QB||6’2||170||St. Peter’s||Staten Island, NY|
|Jack||Davenport||DT||OG||6’||310||Lipscomb Academy||Nashville, TN|
|Matthew||Del Busto||NG||OT||5’10||210||Carmel||Carmel, IN|
|Alec||Dominick||SS||6’1||190||Harvard-Westlake||Santa Monica, CA|
|Chris||Du Bois||WR||5’8||160||Alcory||Covington, GA|
|Malik||Garrett||DL||6’2||230||Mohave||Bullhead City, AZ|
|Alexander||Hodge||DB||WR||6’2||170||North Point||Waldorf, MD|
|Christopher||Jones||DE||6’1||210||Lighthouse Christian||Mansfield, MO|
|Jacob||Kadis||DB||ATH||5’7||170||Delone Catholic||Westminster, MD|
|Joe||Kalosky||QB||6’1||210||Holy Cross||Plymouth, CT|
|Dillon||Kirby||OLB||6’||180||Kern Valley||Lake Isabella, CA|
|Dominic||Kruse||OLB||6’||190||Lincoln||Thief River Falls, MN|
|PJ||McLachlan||CB||SL||5’10||165||Victory Christiam||Tulsa, OK|
|Kelvin||Melgar||CB/S||WR||5’8||180||Clear Lake||Webster, TX|
|Jordan||Pugh||TE||6’5||220||Woodrow Wilson||Tacoma, WA|
|Matthew||Reiser||OC||6’||215||Barrington||Deer Park, IL|
|Nick||Richardson||FS||WR||6’1||160||J Serra||Laguna Niguel, CA|
|Michael||Richardson||CB||Sl||5’7||145||J Serra||Laguna Niguel, CA|
|Tyler||Rosamond||ILB||RB||5’10||195||Sulpher Springs||Sulpher Spring, TX|
|Andrew Schuler-Jones||ILB||6’2||230||Waupaca||Waupaca, WI|
|Kyle||Smith||DT||OL||6’3||270||Southeast Career Tech||Las Vegas, NV|
|Andrew||Stanford||OL||6’4||270||Fayette County||Fayette, AL|
|Evan||Telliard||ILB||HB||6’1||210||Riverside Poly||Riverside, CA|
|Taylor||White||OL||6’2||285||Denham Springs||Denham Springs, LA|
|Lakiem||Williams||OLB||RB||6’1||225||Spanaway Lake||Tacoma, WA|
|Victor||Williams||S||SL/RB||5’7||188||Wilkes Central||Wilkesboro, NC|