The United States will need to go through Australia, Germany and Mexico for a chance to defend its gold medal in the IFAF Senior World Championship of American Football.
Groups were announced Wednesday for the fourth edition of the tournament, which will be played July 8-16 in Austria. The U.S., Germany, Australia and Mexico are in Group A of the round-robin portion. Austria, France, Canada and either Japan or South Korea are in Group B. Group winners will compete for the title July 16 in Vienna.
The United States is expected to name its coaching staff and 45-man roster in the coming months. Nomination forms are available at usafootball.com/teamusa.
The NCAA recognizes USA Football as the sport's national governing body, responsible for building and managing America's national teams for football. Members of USA Football's senior national team must be at least 20 years old.
Led by former NFL and NCAA head coach John Mackovic, the U.S. defeated Japan, 23-20, in double overtime to win the last to Senior World Championship in 2007, the first appearance by an American team.
Nebraska-Omaha running back Kyle Kasperbauer rushed for two touchdowns, and Craig Coffin of Southern Illinois kicked three field goals, including a 23-yard game-winner in the second overtime. IFAF competitions use NCAA rules.
Japan had won the previous two Senior World Championships (1999, 2003). The tournament is held every four years.
Germany enters as the European champion, while France finished second in that qualifying tournament. Japan and South Korea play Feb. 26 in Tokyo for the final spot.