The International Bowl is growing in 2013 as Under-18 and Under-16 national teams from the United States and Canada will take the field for the first competition in football between the two countries at those age levels.
USA Football and Football Canada have come together to provide athletes and coaches the opportunity to compete on a world stage. As the national governing bodies of the sport for their countries, USA Football and Football Canada field national teams for international competition.
“This is an important step in the development of the U.S. National Teams program and in the football development for these players,” USA Football National Teams Director Garrett Shea said. “Our players will have the chance to learn from some of the top coaches in the nation while working alongside the best athletes in their grade levels – all while representing their country.”
Athletes who attended Team USA Regional Development Camps and Team USA National Development Weeks in 2012 have progressed through the U.S. National Team program to become eligible for their respective teams.
The U-18 coaching staff is led by Chris Metzger, the head coach at Pinehurst (N.C.) Pinecrest High School. Metzger is 33-19 since arriving at Pinecrest in 2007, leading his teams to the playoffs each season. Metzger took over a program that had won just 12 games in the previous 10 seasons. He also was the head coach at Lely High School in Naples, Fla., and was an assistant at schools in Florida, Maryland and Kentucky.
Metzger has served as the U.S. defensive coordinator at Under-19 National Trials and as a head coach for the U.S. Under-15 National Team last June in Austin.
“It is such an honor to have those three letters on our chest,” Metzger said. “What a great opportunity to represent our country, to represent the great game of football.”
The Under-16 head coach is Donald Davis of Calvert Hall High School in Baltimore, where Davis is 77-37 since taking over in 2007. Last season, Davis guided the Cardinals to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A title game. His teams have spent 60 consecutive weeks in the Maryland top 10 poll. Calvert Hall has won 30 games in the last three seasons.
Familiar with the U.S. National Team Program, Davis spent last summer as a head coach during USA Football’s U-17 Development Week.
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected to coach the U-16 National Team,” Davis said. “Having the opportunity to represent the United States and to coach some of the finest high school student athletes in our country is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I look forward to continuing to grow and promote this great game worldwide.”
The U-18 and U-16 teams arrive in Austin on Friday, Feb. 1. Along with practices, meetings, study halls and film study, the teams will interact socially with teammates and members of opposing squads – providing the chance to build friendships that span regional and national boundaries.
A jamboree on Monday, Feb. 4, will give players and coaches an early look at their competition before the weeklong experience culminates Wednesday, Feb. 6, with games at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Round Rock, Texas.
“Gathered for a week of skill advancement and competition, bound by a football fellowship while celebrating the game, the International Bowl will be an experience these young athletes will remember their entire lives,” Shea said. “We know these players will learn a lot about football. We also hope they learn a lot about themselves and the international community that loves this sport.”