The Lone Star State just got a little less lonely.
Six members of the U.S. Under-19 National Team’s coaching staff arrived in Austin, Texas, today, one day ahead of their 46 players from more than 20 states.
Team USA will compete against an International Federation of American Football World Team spanning four continents on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m. CT/9 p.m. ET. The game will be nationally televised live by CBS Sports Network from the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex. The World Team won last year’s International Bowl, 35-29.
The two U.S. coaches yet to arrive in Texas are head coach Aaron Brady and tight ends coach Doug Cosbie. Brady, the head coach for Washington, D.C. Gonzaga College High School, underwent an emergency appendectomy Saturday and plans to reach Austin on Friday. Flight cancellations kept Cosbie in Sacramento on Tuesday. He will land in Austin on Wednesday.
U.S. offensive coordinator Brandon Faircloth of Port Neches-Groves (Texas) High School will lead the American staff until Brady joins the team.
“I look forward to the opportunity to work with USA Football and a number of athletes from across the country here,” Team USA defensive backs coach Ron Rice said. Rice played defensive back for seven years in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. He presently serves as the secondary coach at Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison High School, 25 miles north of Detroit. “This is a unique opportunity that I wanted to take advantage of and do it with a lot of pride.”
The U.S. coaches are cognizant of what needs to be done to prepare their team at an accelerated pace prior to Tuesday night’s International Bowl. Team USA will have nine practices and one walkthrough to install its system and game plan.
“You’ve got to have organization – you’ve got to be organized,” said Team USA offensive assistant Claude Mathis of DeSoto (Texas) High School near Dallas. “Put as little on their plate as possible, and they’ll pick things up quick.”
“You’ve got to keep it simple,” Rice added. “You can’t come in with so many defenses or offensive calls. You want to put the layers in the best position for them to play and to win. They’re here because they’ve done that back at their high schools.”
Noting last year’s U.S. defeat at the hands of the World Team, Mathis added, “That will provide some extra motivation.”
WELCOME, WORLD IFAF World Team coaches also arrived in Austin on Tuesday. Among its staff is linebackers coach Pooch Ta’ase, who hails from the tropical climate of American Samoa, where the thermometer generally stays between 77 to 88 degrees year-round. So where did Ta’ase first play collegiate football in the states?
Snow College in Ephraim, Utah (115 miles south of Salt Lake City).
DRINK UP USA Football sponsor Gatorade is providing sports performance beverages for both Team USA and the IFAF World Team throughout International Bowl Week in Austin. A large FedEx box truck pulled up to the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex Tuesday afternoon to unload nearly 1,000 20-ounce Gatorade bottles and 84 gallons worth of powder mix. A pallet teeming with 208 recovery shakes also was dropped off for good measure.
SHORE THING Some things are just meant to be. With the last name Beach, it is only appropriate that Team USA defensive assistant Marc Beach is the head coach at Daytona Beach (Fla.) Seabreeze High School. The school’s nickname is Sandcrabs. The aquatic connotations are impossible to miss.
“I get that quite a bit,” Beach said. “Even our stadium says ‘Daytona Beach’ in the end zone, so it looks like it belongs to me, but it really doesn’t.”
Photo: U.S. Under-19 National Team assistant coaches Marc Beach (left) and Claude Mathis (center) speak with USA Football staff member Jimmy Thomas (right) upon checking into Austin Tuesday at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex. Photo by Steve Alic, USA Football.