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IFAF in the News #12…November, 11, 2008
By Michael Preston – IFAF
Nov 12, 2023 - 2:25:48 PM

IFAF in the News #12…November, 11, 2008
1.            Football’s Growing Reach (Raiders.com, USA)
2.            A new U.S. import: Prep-school talent (International Herald Tribune)
3.            NFL’s Kraft Family teams up with IFL (The Jerusalem Post, Israel)
4.            Pros’ Defense sinks Destroyers (The Nassau Guardian, Bahamas)
5.            St. Ignatius Looks to End Bomber Streak (Maxpreps.com)
6.            North-South Showdown: Week Nine (The Plain Dealer, USA)
7.            Zorich, Brooks Join Holtz's Coaching Staff For Tokyo Alumni Bowl Game (ND.CSTV.com, USA)

1. Football’s Growing Reach
By Corey Sterling
Thursday, November 6
The world of sports is growing increasingly closer and interconnected. One sport that has been rapidly sweeping in globe in popularity is the game of football (or “American Football” as it is called overseas).
As the second annual NFL International Series kicked off in London a few weeks ago, Tommy Wiking, the President of the International Federation of American Football sat calmly yet determined to spearhead the growth of the popularity of his favorite sport all over the world.
The IFAF, which was started in 1998, is comprised of more than 50 associations in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Altogether, the federation represents 23 million athletes worldwide. It is clear that both the federation and the sport have the supply and demand for continual expansion.
“We had so many new members showing a general interest in developing American football worldwide,” said Wiking.  “We’ve reached that number [52 nations] in a relatively short space of time, so our next goal is to oversee 100 countries.”
The rapid growth and the infinite potential of the IFAF serve as obvious indications that our favorite game of “American” football is taking the world by storm and its popularity abroad will one day match its following at home.
Visit https://www.ifaf.info for more information.

2. A new U.S. import: Prep-school talent
By John Branch
International Herald Tribune
Friday, October 31
Curtis Feigt, tall and strong, played tackle football for a couple of years at a club in Berlin before he arrived last autumn at Mercersburg Academy, a prep school in southern Pennsylvania. He had a good junior season, not a spectacular one, playing on the offensive and defensive lines. He found himself at a football camp at West Virginia University last summer.
Coaches tested his speed and strength, then put him through a few one-on-one drills. The session lasted about 20 minutes before Feigt was called into an office.
He walked out with a scholarship offer with the Mountaineers. He accepted, spurning Boston College, Penn State, Maryland, Syracuse, Georgia Tech and Florida State. At 6 feet 5 inches and 265 pounds, or 1.95 meters and 120 kilograms, Feigt is projected as a defensive end.
"I was shocked," Feigt said. "I didn't imagine - I wouldn't say it was easy, but it was so fast."
Those types of connections have been decades in the making, actually. What is changing is that American football, having long spent its diplomatic efforts exporting the game around the world, is increasingly starting to import it.  Players like Feigt are causing college coaches, always looking for a recruiting edge, to extend their gaze beyond traditional horizons. Or beyond the ocean.
"Everybody's in Florida, everybody's in Texas, and Ohio and California," Mercersburg's coach, Dan Walker, said of college recruiters. "But who's in Europe? That could be the edge that recruiters start to believe in."
Greasing the trend is USA Football, a national governing body for youth and amateur football launched in 2003 with the help of the NFL. Its International Student Program, in its third year, has brought some of the top youth players from other countries - Germany, in particular - to play at U.S. boarding schools. Prep schools are used instead of public schools because they have housing and more relaxed transfer policies.
It is another international outreach program for football, but unique because of the perspective it provides. It pulls players from around the world into high school football - the symbolic heart of the game.
Foreign players, relatively inexperienced and unsure how their raw skills will translate, generally arrive with modest goals - to play, to study, to fit in, to not get overly homesick. In the best case, maybe they can get a college scholarship. A few have, to small, low-division colleges.
But this year is different. Two of the 12 players in the program - Feigt and another German, Kasim Edebali, at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire - have received offers from Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly called Division I) colleges. Edebali, a defensive end, has committed to play at Boston College.
A third player, Kimball Union's Kevin Gangelhoff, from Denmark, accepted a scholarship to play linebacker for New Hampshire, a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) team.
"We frankly didn't know what to expect," Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football's executive director, said of the international program. "We consider that incredible success."
American football remains a niche sport in all other countries. Even in Germany, where now-defunct NFL Europe bore its deepest roots, seeing a pick-up football game in a park or on a street is rare.
"I was probably the only guy who was so addicted to football in my area that I wanted to go to the mother country of the sport," said Kai Brusch, a German playing tight end and defensive end for Salisbury School in Connecticut.
Of the 12 players in the program (7 from Germany, 3 from Denmark and one each from Australia and Mexico), 5 are at Kimball Union, coached by John Lyons. He was a longtime coach at Dartmouth and spent several years in the now-defunct NFL Europe. He still has close ties to the web of coaches across the Atlantic.
Lyons said a lot of college coaches are intrigued by the recruiting opportunities in other countries. But most foreign players still represent a risk, since their talent cannot be viewed within the familiar competitive spectrum of American high school football.
Several of the players said that their current high school teams would crush their club teams, and maybe even beat their national team.
"There have been kids who have played college ball in the United States who didn't come over here first," Lyons said. "What this does is give colleges more of a chance to assess their ability."
Gangelhoff, for example, first played football when he was 14. A year later, he was on the Danish national junior team. American colleges discovered him - and his 6-4, 225-pound build - at a camp at Boston College last summer.
USA Football would like to see the program grow gradually, maybe doubling it in the next few years. Ambitions may be governed by the elimination next year of the funding USA Football has provided - $15,000 a student, a big chunk of the roughly $40,000 a year that boarding schools can cost.
But there is little doubt that college coaches will converge on Canton, Ohio, next summer when the International Federation of American Football and USA Football stage the first junior world championship, for players 19 and under.  The pomp surrounding that event will be much different than the environment around, say, Kent School in northwest Connecticut on a recent fall day. The team practiced on a field wedged between a postcard-worthy hillside of fall foliage on one side and the Housatonic River on the other.
It is a long way from Berlin, home of two of Kent's players, Gregor Lietzau and Oliver Woltdeit. They were on the German national youth team that won the European championship earlier this year. They wanted to see what would happen if they brought their game to this country.
"It was always my dream to play in America," Woltdeit said. "And play an American game."

3. NFL’s Kraft Family teams up with IFL
The Jerusalem Post
Friday, October 31
https://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1225199615070&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull <https://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1225199615070&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull>   
The Israel Football League has finalized a new sponsorship agreement with the Kraft Family, owners of the NFL's New England Patriots.

The alliance makes the Krafts the title sponsors of the first full-contact tackle football league in Israel.
Heading into its second season, the league has re-branded itself as the Kraft Family IFL to reflect this relationship with one of the most prominent football families in the world.

The IFL is operated by American Football in Israel, which is centered at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem.

"Without question, this is the largest and most important partnership in league history," said AFI President Steve Leibowitz.

"We are delighted that Robert and Myra Kraft and their wonderful family are once again demonstrating their support as we continue to develop the great sport of football in this region of the world."

IFL Commissioner Ben Friedman added, "the Kraft family involvement will ensure a banner year for both the IFL and American Football in Israel at-large, and we're excited to kick off our upcoming season with such a significant milestone."

Robert and Myra Kraft have an extensive history of supporting football in Israel. The Kraft Family Stadium opened in Jerusalem in 2000, and provides state-of-the-art facilities for the development of a series of football leagues operating at the playing field.

The couple visits the country each year and has recently brought along the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy and sports personalities, including former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, NFL MVP Tom Brady, and Patriots players Richard Seymour and Benjamin Watson.

During his most recent visit to Jerusalem in March, Robert Kraft viewed an IFL game and decided to lend his support. "I am thrilled to be in Israel watching tackle football for the first time," Kraft said that night.

"I get a special feeling in my heart every time I hear Hatikva sung on a football field, and hope to help this sport grow in this country."

The sponsorship deal includes a new league logo incorporating the Kraft name in its design, which combines the images of a tightly-spiraling football with the Israeli flag in its wake.

The IFL's second season kicks off in November.


4. Pros’ defense sinks Destroyers
The Nassau Guardian
Thursday, October 30

After its second week of action the Commonwealth American Football League (CAFL) is just beginning to warm up.

The old adage that "offense wins games, but defense wins championships" has been used by many coaches throughout the history of American Football, and it was very evident this past weekend at the D.W. Davis playing field.

On the windy and rainy afternoon of Sunday, October 26, the Orry J. Pros' defense made those words reality by demolishing the Royal Bahamas Defence Force football team, the Destroyers. As the rain beat down on the helmets of the Destroyers' team, they could have only watched as they suffered a heart wrenching 32-0 loss to the Pros.

In the first quarter, the Destroyers and the Pros both had strong defenses, but it would be the Pros who claimed the first interception of the game, thanks to Nixon Recarno. However, the Destroyers' defense held its own against the Pros' defense, but eventually gave in to the onslaught of passes and runs by the Pros' offense.

The Pros took the lead at the end of the first quarter with a pass play from quarterback Michael "Mike" Foster to wide receiver Ashley Roberts for a touchdown. This was followed by a successful two-point conversion, which made the score eight to zero. In the second quarter, the Pros sacked the Destroyers' quarterback which resulted in a fumble. The fumble was recovered by Pros' Loften Russell, who made a thunderous 54-yard dash down the field for a touchdown.

Lightning proved to strike in the same place twice when Foster connected with Roberts again on a pass play for a touchdown. On both occasions, the Pros' offense failed to get the two-point conversion. This lifted their score 20 to zero. Just as it looked like the Pros were going to score again before the half, the RBDF Destroyers rallied together and halted their drive.

With just mere minutes left in the second quarter, Destroyers got their first interception of the game and blasted down the field before being tackled. This placed the team just a few yards from the end zone. However, time was not on their side as the quarter came to an end with the team not being able to score.

At the start of the third quarter, the Destroyers' quarterback was sacked by Pros lineman Garilese "Blacks" Collie. The Pros' defense looked as if they could not be stopped. To return the favor, RBDF lineman Rosito Thomas sacked the Pros' quarterback, causing him to leave the game due to a shoulder injury. He was replaced by back-up quarterback, Alex Smith, midway into the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the running backs of the Pros were unleashed against the Destroyers. The first set of run plays led to a touchdown by running back Luton Delancy. After the Pros scored, the Destroyers marched down the field with a combination of run and pass plays, but the ball was intercepted by Pros linebacker Anton "Yellow" Coakley. This eventually led to a touchdown by Alex Rolle, who ran in for a quarterback sneak.

The game ended after QB Alex Rolle threw an interception to DB Derward Smith in the end zone. This stopped the Pros' offense from scoring in the last seconds of the game.

Despite the wide loss margin the Destroyers' coach believed that his team played well, but still feels that his team could do better. He said if his team had executed assignments throughout the game, they would have won the game. Furthermore, he also feels that the team possesses a lot of talent and all they need to do is practice.

The coaches of the Pros felt that it was a much needed win due to the fact they lost last week to the John Bull Jets. This brought their record to 1-1. They said that the loss that they experienced last week was needed to wake them up. They gave credit to their rookie running backs and especially their defense for holding the Destroyers scoreless. The Pros is set to play against the Tripoint Kingdom Warriors this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at D.W. Davis field. The Tripoint Kingdom Warriors are looking for their first win of the season.

On Sunday, the John Bull Jets (3-0) will be playing against Porky's Stingrays (2-0) at a location to be announced.

5. St. Ignatius Looks to End Bomber Streak (Maxpreps.com)
By Kevin Askeland
Thursday, October 16

For Cleveland St. Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle, it’s not exactly a case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em." It’s more like, “see if they’ll join you.”

Kyle is the head coach of the United States junior national team, which will compete in the International Federation of American Football Junior World Championships this summer in Canton, Ohio. One of the members of his impressive coaching staff is longtime adversary Steve Specht of Cincinnati St Xavier.

The two coaches will walk the sideline together in June with Kyle assuming head coaching duties and Specht working his magic as the team’s defensive coordinator. Saturday, however, they’ll be on opposite sidelines with Kyle trying to figure out how best to get past Specht’s tough Bomber defense.

St. Ignatius (7-1) and St. Xavier (4-4) play in the MaxPreps 5 Days 2 Friday event with a 2 p.m. kickoff Saturday in Cincinnati. St. Xavier has had the upper hand in this rivalry for much of the decade, winning the last seven regular season meetings between the two teams. The Wildcats last beat the Bombers in the 2001 state championship game, one of nine state championships won by Kyle.


6. North-South Showdown: Week Nine
By Mike Parris
The Plain Dealer, USA
Tuesday, October 14

Despite being located about four hours apart, there are many similarities between Cincinnati St. Xavier and Cleveland St. Ignatius. Both are all-boys Jesuit schools founded in the 1800s with the same school motto ("Men for Others") and even the same alma mater. Both schools boast a long, storied history of success on the gridiron. St. Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle recently tabbed St. Xavier head coach Steve Specht as his defensive coordinator on the USA Junior National Team.
Sounds like mirror images, right?
Well this season the on-field results from each respective program certainly aren't on par. St. Ignatius (7-1) looks like it has yet another state title contender and is playing some of the best football in Ohio right now. Meanwhile, the Bombers have stumbled to a 4-4 record thanks to a brutal schedule, untimely injuries and a struggling offense. The reigning D-I state champions are hanging on for dear life to simply make the playoffs.
Despite the discrepancies this season, you can expect another classic battle Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati. St. Xavier has had its way with St. Ignatius in the past five meetings, winning each contest. Last seaon, the Bombers held on for a 17-14 triple overtime victory in Cleveland. Needless to say, the Wildcats need to find a way to break out of the X jinx.

7. Zorich, Brooks Join Holtz's Coaching Staff For Tokyo Alumni Bowl Game
Tuesday, November 11
Two former stars of college football have joined the coaching staff of the Fighting Irish Legends who will play in the Notre Dame Japan Bowl in Tokyo, Japan, next summer.
Chris Zorich, a mainstay of the 1988 Notre Dame national championship season, will coach the defensive line of the Fighting Irish Legends against the Japanese senior national team in the Tokyo Dome on Saturday, July 25, 2009. On the offensive side of the ball, All-American and 1992 Heisman Trophy candidate Reggie Brooks will coach the team's running backs.
Former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz will take charge of the Legends, an alumni team made up of former Fighting Irish football players, at the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome in Japan's capital city. The game will be the highlight of an eight-day visit to Tokyo to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Japan American Football Association (JAFA).
"I am extremely honored to be representing the University of Notre Dame in this unique opportunity," said Zorich. "No other university has the fans or alumni to support a legends game halfway around the world in Japan like Notre Dame has. It is great that the mission of the University is known on a global scale.
"I have represented the University on many levels but none as a coach, so I am honored to have been selected by Hall of Fame Coach Lou Holtz to work with him in the Notre Dame Japan Bowl."
As the Manager for Monogram/Football Alumni Relations, Brooks is also charged with recruiting the Fighting Irish Legends playing staff and has been sending out invitations to former players, focusing on those who played at Notre Dame during the past decade. The Notre Dame Monogram Club will be the key university liaison group for this event.
Brooks said: "As a former Notre Dame player, and having participated in the last alumni game in Hamburg, Germany, I am truly honored to have the opportunity to coach in such a prestigious game. The chance to coach alongside Coach Holtz will be a great experience and to do it in a history-rich location like Japan only adds to the excitement."
Once a group of potential players has been identified, Holtz and his coaching staff will hold a testing combine at Notre Dame in April 2009. The final Fighting Irish Legends roster will then meet for a two-day mini-camp in South Bend on July 17 and 18 of 2009 before heading to Tokyo from July 19 to 26 as unique sporting ambassadors in Japan.
US Event Producer and President of Global Football Patrick Steenberge, who was a quarterback for the Fighting Irish in the early 1970s, said: "We are delighted to have two respected and well-known Fighting Irish legends of Chris' and Reggie's caliber on the coaching staff. We will announce more assistant coaches in the coming weeks."
Chris Zorich, Defensive Line
A former Notre Dame football player during the era of legendary coach Lou Holtz, Zorich became one of the best linemen to play college football and was an All-American in 1989 and 1990. He returned to his alma mater in 2008 as manager of student welfare and development in the Notre Dame athletic administration.
During his college years, he was an instrumental part of the 1988 Notre Dame national championship team and was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2007 - as only the third Notre Dame lineman to achieve the honor. Zorich played six seasons in the NFL after being drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1991.
He graduated from law school at the University of Notre Dame in 2002 after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies in 1991. He is chairman of the Chris Zorich Foundation in Chicago which was established in 1993 in honor of his mother who passed away his senior year to Notre Dame.
Reggie Brooks, Running Backs
A former football All-America running back and graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Brooks is the manager of Monogram and Football Alumni Relations for the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
A native of Tulsa, Okla., he played under former Irish head coach Lou Holtz from 1989-92. He remains visible throughout the Notre Dame record book as his career average of 7.6 yards per rush remains a school record and his 1,372 yards rushing in 1992 ranks third-best in single-season school history. The Washington Redskins selected Brooks in the second round of the 1993 NFL draft -- and he played four seasons, finishing with 1,726 career rushing yards including 223 attempts for 1,063 as a rookie in 1993. The Pro Football Writers of America named him to the NFL's 1993 all-rookie team.
About the Japan American Football Association (JAFA)
JAFA was established in 1935, celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2009 and currently has 390 teams playing at the corporate semi-professional, university and high school level with more than 18,000 active players. The Japanese football championship game, better known as the Rice Bowl, launched in 1948 as an east versus west all-star game. In 1983, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of American football in Japan, the Rice Bowl changed its format to one that pits the university champion against the corporate-sponsored semi-pro champion to determine the national champion. The annual game takes place during the national New Year's holiday in January.

© Copyright 2008 by bafa.org.uk

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