An Overview of USA-AFW ELITE HS Select Tours Starting in 2013
FRANCE 2013 & 2014
AFW ELITE’s tours in 2013 and 2014 featured Paris – “The City of Lights”, and one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities in the world along with the Normandy Coast. As a part of this tour our players and families took in all of the icons familiar to people around the world: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral along the banks of the Seine River, the Champs de Elysees christened by the Arc de Triomphe in the Plaza de Concorde, Sacre Couer on Montmartre and more. In addition, we spent a good part of a day at Versailles the home of Louis XIV’s incomparable, opulent palace and grounds.
From Versailles our journey took us to Normandy the province of France that borders the English Channel. We visited the impressive monastery castle of Mont St. Michel and then the charming city of Bayeaux. The following day we will walked the hallowed grounds above Omaha Beach and the US Cemetery & Peace Memorial marking the sacrifice of our United States servicemen on D-Day and in World War II. At the end of the day we enjoyed a unique and special co-practice with all-comers from French American football clubs in the region.
After a two day excursion we returned to Paris with a stop in beautiful Rouen home to the legend of Joan of Arc. Later Friday afternoon we went through our final pre-game practice focusing in on the contest the following day against one year France’s national U19 team and the following year their defending national U19 championship team. That evening all in the travel party enjoyed dinner once again in old Paris and we culminated the evening with a cruise on the Seine River taking in our final view of this majestic city in an awe-inspiring way.
Our last full day focused on “Game Day” as we competed to honor this great game of American football and the USA. After the game we socialized with our French hosts then moved on to celebrate our game performance and the entire tour as a new group of friends who shared a truly special journey in life.
ITALY 2015 – 2019 (5 Consecutive Years)
In 2015, AFW ELITE accepted an invitation by the Italian Federation of American Football to tour their country and conclude the week with a game against their national U19 team who was preparing for European competition that summer.
AFW ELITE team and family members landed in Rome and immediately took in a photo op in front to the one-and-only Roman Coliseum. The afternoon was then spent touring the famous piazzas of Rome including Piazza Navona, The Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. After a bountiful Italian dinner and a long-day of travel rest was in order.
The next two days started with morning practices after which the team took in Vatican City, and later went inside the Roman Colosseum and Roman Forum for a guided tour. Free time was granted before the team headed back to the hotel for the evening. On the third day, after practice the tour group headed north to the beautiful area known as Florence where the country side of green rolling hills adorned with villages astounds. An afternoon in Siena with it’s unique ‘shell shaped’ campo surrounded by shops and pizzerias was a welcome stop. For evening rest it was on to the spa town of Montecatini Termi just outside of Florence.
AM practice once again got the day going, but then it was off to remarkable Florence for a day of touring this historically significant city situated in the Arno valley which also serves as one of the world’s most beautiful outdoor art museums. A full day into the evening with a great Tuscan meal was enjoyed by all. The following day the tour group ventured to the region known as Cinque Terra which has no motor access. One train line took the tour party to explore what they could of the “5 Villages’ on the shores of the Ligurian Sea before heading on to the Lake Como region north of Milan.
During the two-day stay in the north the tour group visited the financial and fashion capital of Italy that Milan is along with a brief half-day tour to Lugano, Switzerland just north of Como. The weekend culminated with a game versus an eager and improving Italian national team. USA-AFW ELITE has prevailed four years in a row demonstrating the speed, skill and consistency with which the game is played in the US.
IRELAND 2017 & 2018
In 2017, AFW ELITE made history in becoming the first organization to bring a group of US high school players to Ireland to compete against players from that country. Ireland has been playing football at the 20 years of age and above level for just over 30 years. Over that time the game has developed at the junior level and recently Irish American Football Association (IAFA) has sponsored a national 20U team with which AFW ELITE competed. AFW ELITE toured beautiful Galway on its mystical bay and the magnificent Cliffs of Mohr before moving on to Limerick. The tour concluded in the capital of Dublin with tours of Trinity College & its Book of Kells, St. Patrick Cathedral, Croke Park and the Gaelic Sports Hall of Fame and Guinness Storehouse with an excursion to Trim Castle. The initial game was played at the National Sports Center of Ireland.
In 2018, AFW ELITE returned for another fantastic experience in Ireland. The previous tour was largely duplicated with some improvements. The game against the Irish national team took place in Navin, northwest of Dublin.
For the thoughts of those who have traveled, click on TESTIMONIALS link in the Lower Navigation Bar.
2020 & 2021 – Spain and Italy Team Tours Postponed Due to Covid Pandemic
2020 was a challenging and for too many a tragic year. Just prior to an exciting spring-summer tour season, Covid-19 began a fast ascent in northern Italy then spread fast throughout Europe. Soon after, more cases were to have a severe impact on the US.
For 2020 AFW had organized their 6th consecutive AFW ELITE tour to depart to Italy in late March. In early April, AFW was set in assembling the first US high school select team that was to travel to Spain and ‘Make History’ in being the first US high school team to compete in Europe and against Spain’s national 19U American football team. Undoubtedly there was great disappointment in both countries and by members of both teams that this event had to cancel due to the pandemic.
Unfortunately, medical progress against Covid-19 did not progress sufficiently such that the AFW ELITE high school select team could resume operations again in 2021.
At this time there is every reasonable hope that in 2022 AFW will be able to recruit and travel ambitious and adventurous young men to their ELITE TEAM that will travel abroad and compete representing the USA.