There is no event or personal experience that can rival the Tazón de Estrellas, produced exclusively for NCAA Division III student-athletes eager to travel to face the best college football all-stars from south of the border, and to enjoy a full week in Mexico.
Under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Don DeWaard (Central College), the Americans will train at the Mexicali, UABC and CETYS campuses in Tijuana, and on December 19 will take on the CONADEIP All Stars selected from the CONADEIP private universities in Mexico. A home team win in Puebla in 2014 leveled the Tazón de Estrellas series between the great rivals at 3-3.
“It is an honor to be selected to host the seventh edition of the Tazón de Estrellas,” said City of Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazrán. “We are very interested in collaborating with Global Football in offering a positive, life-changing experience in our city.”
Global Football president Patrick Steenberge has developed and organized the Tazón de Estrellas in association with CONADEIP and Division III schools in the United States since 2009, having produced the Aztec Bowl for 11 years 1997 to 2007.
“In this, our 18th year of bringing top NCAA Division III student athletes to Mexico for this annual post season game, we are excited to be playing in Baja for the first time, working with CETYS as our host,” said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. “I am sure our team will have a much better understanding of the State of Baja from this experience, including Mexicali and Tijuana. The game against the CONADEIP All Stars is always a highly competitive and entertaining match up.”
Division III coaches who believe they have graduating college seniors deserving of an opportunity to represent their school and country in Mexico may nominate athletes for Team Stars & Stripes. Nominations should be sent to Director of Player Personnel & Football Operations John Roslien: RoslienJ@central.edu
Working alongside DeWaard will be assistant coaches Ron Planz (Elmhurst), Joe Austin (Southwestern), Chris Krich (LaVerne) and Rob Cushman (Minnesota Morris), and Director of Player Personnel John Roslein (Central) and Athletic Trainer Frank Neu (Central).
Tazón de Estrellas History
In 2014, the CONADEIP All-Stars leveled the Tazón de Estrellas series at 3-3 with an impressive 31-17 win over Team Stars & Stripes as Mexican college league MVP Norman Contla threw four touchdown passes at El Tempo Del Dolor (Temple of Pain Stadium) in Puebla. The win earned Eric Fisher his second victory as head coach of the Mexican university team.
In December 2013, Team Stars & Stripes had too much offensive firepower for their Mexican hosts, winning 29-7 at the 36,000-capacity Estadio Tecnológico on the Tec de Monterrey campus.
In 2012, Team Stars & Stripes scored 15 unanswered points in the second quarter and went on to win the fourth annual Tazón de Estrellas 32-15 at Fortaleza de Azul in Guadalajara, earning Don De Waard of Central (Iowa) College a victory on his debut as head coach.
In 2011, the third annual Tazón de Estrellas was played at El Tempo del Dolor in Puebla and the CONADEIP All-Stars triumphed 45-27 over Team Stars & Stripes, drawn from 28 D-III colleges in the United States, in front of a close to capacity crowd. After the visiting Americans raced to a 14-0 lead early in the game, their Mexican hosts scored 38 unanswered points to take control of the game. Team Stars & Stripes gained some momentum in the fourth quarter but two late touchdowns were not enough to make a dent on the outcome.
In 2010 Team Stars & Stripes rolled up 475 yards of total offense, including 370 yards passing, to defeat the CONADEIP All-Stars 48-7 at La Congeladora (The Freezer) at the Tec de Monterrey Toluca campus.
In 2009 Team Stars & Stripes comprised of 52 players from 35 colleges and 20 states took on the Tec de Monterrey All-Stars in Mexico City at the Estado de Mexico. The American visitors fell 24-12 despite a rousing fourth quarter comeback attempt to overturn a 17-point deficit.
The Tazón de Estrellas was established after the Aztec Bowl came to an end in 2007. Former AFCA President, Coach Ron Schipper, who led Central College for 35 years from 1961 to 1996, helped conceive the idea of the Aztec Bowl, as an event that would provide NCAA Division III senior football players with a true post-season event. He and Steenberge presented the concept to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and they helped fund it from 1997 to 2007, giving worthy D-3 athletes an opportunity to compete internationally without the burden of financial obstacles.
The event has showcased many notable players, including three who have gone on to enjoy successful NFL careers in Washington Redskins Pro Bowl LB London Fletcher (John Carroll / 1997 game), Seattle Seahawks RB Fred Jackson (Coe College / 2002 game) and Miami Dolphins LB Jason Trusnik (Ohio Northern / 2007 game).
The Tazón de Estrellas is the focal point for the Global Football Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit initiative, which assists athletes in meeting the expenses associated with traveling overseas to realize their dreams of competing against other American football enthusiasts and experiencing different cultures. The foundation allows potential benefactors to make charitable donations to offset costs that might otherwise prevent the student athletes from undertaking the trip of a lifetime.