Having spent the spring and early summer months of 2013 exporting American football overseas, Global Football now welcomes Japanese enthusiasts of the sport to the United States for a unique visit.
For the sixth time, a group of students, and teacher/coaches from Ritsumeikan Uji High School in Kyoto are preparing to arrive in San Diego to increase their knowledge of the game by learning from legendary high school coach Ed Burke, while enjoying an educational and cultural experience organized by Coach Burke and Global Football.
The group of 20 student athletes and 2 teacher/coaches will arrive in San Diego this Saturday, August 17, and will be paired with local host families before spending their first day at the famous Sea World attraction. They will enjoy more than two weeks of sporting, educational and cultural activities before returning home on September 3.
From Monday through Friday during the first week of their stay, the group will combine English classes at Torrey Pines High School with football practices, learning offensive, defensive and special team techniques, while also spending time in the weight room.
“Working with Coach Burke is always a pleasure, and our history together dates back to 1998 when we played the second Global Junior Championship in San Diego,” said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. “For six years he has done an amazing job of organizing this annual event, which first was conceived by my longtime friend and top Japanese coach Shinzo Yamada, and his friend, Kei Higashimae. This project is so special for the Japanese youngsters who get to come for football and English, but will leave with lasting memories.”
Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan Uji Junior and Senior High School provides an environment where students can develop through involvement in various experiences inside Japan and around the world. Students hone their thinking skills and develop and deepen their humanity while expanding their English ability and basic academic skills.
The Ritsumeikan Uji Panthers won the 43rd Kansai High School American Football Championship at Kobe’s Oji Stadium on June 23, beating the Kansei Gakuin Fighters 30-21 to win their third Kansai championship and first title since 2009. Panthers running back Fujioka Shunpei won the Saito Trophy as Most Valuable Player.
In San Diego, Coach Ed Burke will pass on his many years of knowledge, which include 21 years with the Torrey Pines High School Falcons, where he won eight league championships and four San Diego CIF titles before retiring in 2007. While accumulating a 182-60-5 record, he also nurtured five future NFL players including former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star safety John Lynch.
“It is almost unbelievable that they are so bright and they learn so quickly,” said Burke of the Japanese players who he has coached on previous visits. “Every year they amaze me with their ability to pick things up so quickly.
“Last year, I gave a wristband to the quarterback and I would call out a number and he would read the wristband. I gave him no instructions and the wristband is in abbreviations and things of that nature and he made every call exactly correct including when he had to switch to a different formation. And he is doing all of this in a foreign language. It is truly something that you never experience with other teams and players.”
The first week culminates in a scrimmage against Tri-City Christian and Clairmont on Friday, August 23 with Ritsumeikan Uji High School, led by Coach Kei Higashimae, keen to add to a winning streak established by their compatriots on previous visits.
After a weekend spent with host families, who ensure the visiting Japanese students enjoy all the local sights and attractions of Southern California, the group returns to Torrey Pines High School on Monday, August 26, to resume a combination of classroom lessons and football practices.
School will be in session for the second week and on August 30, so the Ritsumeikan visitors will cheer on their new classmates in the season opener against San Pasqual High School in Torrey Pines Stadium on Ed Burke Field.
The group will also have a chance to enjoy a NFL preseason game as the San Diego Chargers take on the San Francisco 49ers in Qualcomm Stadium, and a college football clash between USC and Nevada at the famous Rose Bowl.
For more information regarding Global Football tours and events and to reserve an overseas visit in 2014 and beyond, contact Patrick Steenberge: Tel: 817-219-7274 / Email: Patrick@GlobalFootball.com.