Parents and Players Praise AFW ELITE Tour Experience

0 Submitted by on Wed, 10 August 2016, 06:38

ELITE ’16 Families Praise AFW High School Select Tours and Programming


The high school ELITE tours to Europe offered by American Football Worldwide have been reviewed very favorably by parents who have traveled with their sons and witnessed first-hand what AFW provides. In addition, following below are some thoughts from parents who were unable to join the tour but sent their son.

For a sample of thoughts offered by parents following this past spring’s tour to Italy (Rome/Vatican City, Tuscany, Lake Como/Milan) please see below.


I would also like to thank you and your staff and the many volunteers for putting this together and providing such an incredible opportunity to our boys.  I agree that this experience should change them as young men, and I believe it has.  From the very first communication to this last one, you have shown tremendous organization and integrity in everything and our experience has been outstanding.  I will be happy to recommend to anyone that, if given the chance, they take this opportunity.

Thank you,

Brad Melchi, Carmel (IN)

Son Nate to Wabash College (IN)


The Italy trip was truly amazing. I went with guarded optimism since I had never done a tour bus trip before. In one word it was AWESOME!  Great kids. Great parents. Great coaches.

Curt Coolidge, Chicago (IL)

Son Ryan to Case Western Reserve University (OH)


Thank you, thank you, thank you for a more than amazing week in Italy with great athletes, coaches and families! We made it home safely and have jumped right into senior year activities, all-star game activities and “normal” life. We so enjoyed our time with AFW. Memories to last all our lives!

You and your staff are to be commended on the sites and activities chosen!

We thank you for inviting Dalton and we would jump on this opportunity again & again…ahhhh, if only we had another child! 🙂

Lisa Garver, Fresno, CA

Son Dalton to Wesleyan University (CT)


I would like to thank Coach Barnes and all the assistant coaches for inviting Cody, Alexandra and I for the trip of a lifetime.  It was so well organized and planned to maximize our travel and football investment.  My wife has always wanted to go to Italy. The trip included a great variety of Italian life and sites from ancient city streets and shops to the awe-inspiring churches including the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum, The Vatican, Michael Angelo’s paintings on impossibly high ceilings, statues and monuments everywhere, fountains and city walls each with perfectly described stories and histories from our many excellent tour guides to the beauty of olive and grape orchards, foggy valleys and a sea plane taking off from water-lovers’ eye candy, Lake Como.
We had the perfect schedule mixing meals, travel, guided tours, free time, football practice and spontaneous late night gatherings of some suspect parents (the 18 year olds were too pooped to contribute to our delinquency). And, oh yes, the game culminating the greatest week of my life.

To the assistant coaches I want to thank them for making our football experience educational and fun.  They were smart, well organized and engaged in their respective roles with enthusiasm and a strong desire to pass on their football knowledge to our college football bound sons with this incredible international opportunity.

Finally, I would like to recommend American Football Worldwide to any football player who wants proof the earth isn’t flat and that exciting sites in distant lands and fascinating people from vastly different cultures await you if as coach Barnes says, “you stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone.

Mike and Alexandra Wilkinson, Casper, WY

Son Cody to Holy Cross (CT)



Dinner in a Florentine Restaurant

I just wanted to echo some of the statements that have been made.  As a parent who went on the trip, I was not sure what to expect from the players who were on their own.  I can not say enough about how wonderful these young men are.  Each of you should be so proud of the way you have raised your sons.  Each one of them could not have been more polite or more kind.  I had my 14-year old son with us and each of them made a special effort to make him feel welcome.  He now has 33 new role models to look up to.  I can’t say enough about the character of each of these young men.
To the coaches, and Jim in particular, thank you for creating this opportunity for our sons.  I know that this was a trip of a lifetime that will help form their view of themselves, the world and their places in it.
Thank you to all!

Beth Coolidge, Chicago (IL)



Reviews and reflections from parents who were not able to attend.


AFW ELITE ’16 Tours Grounds of Roman Forum

What an amazing week!  As a very cautious and sometimes “smothering” Mom, I am pleasantly surprised and mostly relieved that all involved were amicable enough to get along with each other.

It was an honor and privilege to see all of the pictures posted from the various places visited; but mostly to see the near instant bond that the team shared from the get go.  My family and I only met the AMAZING CHICAGO crew, but from what I hear from our son, all of these young men were talented, genuinely down to earth and easy to get to know.

Coaches, my husband and I could never in a million years give you and your folks the “thanks” that you deserve for doing such an outstanding job in just a short amount of time with 33 young, vivacious football players and the “needy” parents (like me)…I was so scared to take this leap, but we did it for Kyle.

From the very bottom of our hearts, thank you for giving these men an opportunity of a lifetime and memories to share.

Tawyna Jones, Knob Noster, MO

Son Kyle to walk-on at Auburn University



I am so proud of you all and how well this entire events has went. My son, Ibn Wilkerson #2 has told me so much about the tour, the team, the coaches and the practices. Is amazed me that you all where able to get so much done on daily basis, tour and walk for miles with no mishaps. I speak for my entire family that this opportunity and tour definitely a most memorable experiences for all those who took part in it and for individuals who was here in the USA praying for a safe and successful trip for their love ones.

I was too, somewhat in a fog and mist and was asking myself “why did you agree to send your son ITALY” without family escort…. Have you lost your mind”. Lol! But, I kept my thoughts for the most part too myself.

Ibn was committed to join the AFW ELITE team and play international football and I was going to support him. I’m so proud of him and all the players for doing what they do. I wish each and everyone the best in all their affairs. May AFW continue to touch the lives of players, coaches and their family members.

A special thanks to Coach Jim Barnes for your dedication and commitment to making this possible, putting together a awesome itinerary, and the many informative e-mails.

For you, your crew and supporters are making an impact on people lives.


Galloway, NJ




“My AFW experience was amazing and I think any athlete that has the opportunity to participate absolutely should. It was one of the most memorable trips of my life.” Jack Davenport, Lipscomb Academy, Nashville, TN

“I had the experience of a lifetime with the AFW ELITE squad in Italy. This trip was worth any amount of money because I gained friends that turned into brothers, who I will continue my relationship with for a lifetime.” Drew Schuler-Jones (Bemidji State University – NCAA DII)

“The AFW ELITE opportunity to play football and tour Italy was such a unique and rewarding cultural experience. It allowed me to meet and bond with new teammates and the Italian football players. This trip was a fantastic way to end my HS career, I will remember it always.” Joe Czelusniak (American International College – NCAA DII)

“Touring Italy and playing football there for a week was an awesome experience. It was incredible to see their team separated thousands of miles from American football but still have such an incredible love for the game.”   Matt del Busto (Carmel HS)

“The AFW trip to Italy was a once in a lifetime opportunity! Bonding with 40+ new brothers and experiencing the wonders of Italy has left me with memories I will cherish for the rest of my life!”  (Christopher Jones – Asuza Pacific University)

“I want to thank you again for a great experience in Italy. Meeting a bunch of guys from all over the country for the first time and meshing the way we did to create a bond and a team was truly amazing. There was never a dull moment whether we were on the field or out touring the country.”  Joe Kalosky (Lawrenceville School (PG), NJ)



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