Two of the teams who travel with American Football Worldwide on NCAA-permissible overseas foreign competition tours and one new AFW client advanced to the NCAA Division III national playoffs this past season. Washington and Jefferson College and Wartburg College won their conference championships and earned their ticket to compete for the national title. In addition, Hanover College upset Franklin College in the Bell Game to earn the Heartland Athletic Conference Championship and their first playoff bid since 2004.
Washington and Jefferson, who last traveled with AFW to Italy in 2016 plans to return to Europe in 2020. Coach Mike Sirianni’s Presidents went 9-1 on the season and on the last week of the regular season defeated Waynesburg 33-14 to win the President’s Athletic Conference. During the season the Presidents went over 500 yards in total offense six times. Owning one of the best football traditions in college football, W&J is appearing in the NCAA playoffs for the 26th time.
Wartburg College won the American Rivers Conference Championship earning the automatic bid for the second consecutive year. It was the 16th conference championship in school history. Coach Rick Willis’ team has been lead by two-time conference MVP quarterback Matt Sacia. Last season the Knights advanced to the national semi-finals. Wartburg last traveled with AFW to Italy in the spring of 2017 and intends to return to overseas travel in 2020.
AFW also offers congratulations to teams that fell one win short of earning a trip to the national playoffs, but also had outstanding seasons. The University of Dubuque fell short in the conference championship game against Wartburg but finished 7-3. Dubuque traveled to Ireland with AFW this past spring. After advancing to the national playoffs a year ago, Case Western Reserve University finished 8-2. They had traveled with AFW to Switzerland in May of 2018.
NCAA teams are permitted to travel overseas for competitions every third year. In preparation for overseas competition, NCAA Division III teams are permitted to have 10 additional days of spring practice in full equipment – which is normally not included in spring activities at that level. Though coaches may not use all of the ‘padded days”, many are used to further develop player skills and team schemes.
With shortening August practice opportunities these additional dates can be extremely beneficial to a program looking to provide their players and team a competitive edge. Coaches at these respective schools all feel the extra practices contributed to their elevated play. In addition, the experience of an overseas competition tour provides a special team-bonding experience.
Besides the substantial football benefits, student-athletes who tour gain the special and unique education benefits that international travel offers. Often times student-athletes find it difficult to take in a term studying abroad and these nine or ten day tours serve as a valuable growth experience in numerous respects.
AFW has organized dozens of tours at the collegiate and high school level. Potential tour sites can take place most anywhere internationally. For further information regarding AFW tours for both college teams and for high school select AFW ELITE tours to Europe to compete against national U19 teams contact Jim Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.