The U.S. Federation of American Football (USFAF) became a provisional member of IFAF earlier this year. Its national team will participate in the forthcoming 2017 World Games.
As new members of IFAF, they are deeply appreciative of the opportunity to compete in the World Games under the banner of the International Federation of American Football.
“It is our greatest honor to represent IFAF and the United States in these games. To have our sport competing in such a great international event is a sign of incredible progress by Tommy Viking, Robert Huber, Zorica Hoffman and the rest of the leadership of IFAF. We’re excited to participate and we’re working hard to be great representatives and members of this great international sports community,” they stated.
All the athletes on U.S. Federation National Team have played football in college in the United States. It was a requirement of their selection process that the potential athlete has played collegiately. Several have participated in NFL pre-season camps and nearly half of their roster of athletes has played for club teams in Europe.
The Head Coach of the team is Rudy Wyland, who has been with the U.S. Federation and USA Eagles Club team since the founding in 2002. He played collegiately at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Idaho State University. He has played in games in Germany and Austria and has coached overseas as the Offensive Coordinator in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina.
Defensive Coordinator is Kevin Booker. He played college football at Morgan State University and has been a leader of the defensive team for the USA Eagles since 2002. He has played in games all over Europe with the Eagles. Mr. Booker serves as the Head Coach of the USA Eagles and our Defensive Coordinator.
The U.S. Federation of American Football has not played in any national friendly matches. Their training camp is currently underway and is the culmination of a very long selection process. USFAF only began its timeline towards the World Games in April 2017, which is several months behind the other three participants in the Games. So, according to the coaching staff, there has been much to do in order to catch up with Germany, France and Poland.
Regarding the presence of American football as one of four invitational sports at the this years’ World Games, officials of the USFAF said:
“The sport of American football belongs on a big stage such as the World Games. We dare to hope that it will become a participant, someday, on the greatest sports stage in the World at the Summer Olympics. We feel that our sports inclusion in the World Games is an important step towards that goal and it took the great leadership of the International World Games Association, the World Games Local Organizing Committee in Poland and the International Federation of American Football, working together, to make this inclusion a reality.”
They also hope that American football has a future in the Olympic Games.
“We hope that it will be in Los Angeles in 2024. It is a natural progression for our sport to be included in the World Games. We believe that IFAF Leadership has done so much work, and met so many challenges in gaining IOC recognition. Of course, our sport belongs in the Olympic Games. It’s a great competitive sport with incredible athletic stories of personal and team struggle and triumph. It’s the ultimate team sport and is the physical embodiment of what is most considered when you hear the words ‘Olympic Spirit and Ideals’. Someday, in the not-to-distant future, our sport will compete in the Summer Olympics.”
When it comes to their intention and their goal at the World Games, the U.S. Federation of American Football stresses that their principal goal is to represent IFAF and the United States well.
“We will work hard in our administrative and athletic preparations and we believe that winning gold is the result of those concerted efforts. Winning is a process that began with our admission to IFAF and to the World Games as the U.S. Representative. We intend to compete well and ultimately win the gold medal.”
The USFAF Team will play against Germany in the first semifinal match on 22nd July. Kickoff is scheduled at 1 p.m.
Photo: Dario Fumagalli & Eric Gutierrez