Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) 2014
In August, Penn Manor and Cedar Cliff high schools from Pennsylvania traveled to Ireland to open their 2014 football season beneath Dublin Friday Night Lights at the University College Dublin in the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT). Two former NFL stars – GIFT honorary chairman and former Patriots, Jaguars and Jets tight end Kyle Brady and special guest Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson – watched as Penn Manor won 27-20 in front of an appreciative crowd.
The Croke Park Classic, for which Global Football President Patrick Steenberge was the catalyst having introduced Penn State University and the Gaelic Athletic Association, saw Penn State defeat the University of Central Florida with a last-minute field goal in front of 53,304 spectators in September. Steenberge was recognized for his role at a dinner hosted by Price Waterhouse Cooper that included Kyle Brady as a speaker alongside representatives of the GAA and the two American universities.
German linebacker Kasim Edebali completed his rise from Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire to the NFL by signing with New Orleans of the NFL as a free agent, establishing himself as a key component of the Saints defense and special teams. Like fellow German Bjoern Werner of the Indianapolis Colts, Edebali was a member of the Global Football-devised and operated International Student Program that afforded promising international football players the opportunity to study and play the sport in the United States.
Tazón de Estrellas
Under head coach Don DeWaard of Central College, 40 seniors selected from 17 NCAA Division III colleges participated in the Tazón de Estrellas, the 17th annual post-season game organized in Mexico by Global Football exclusively for Division III players. The Team Stars & Stripes squad undertook a service project coordinated by Tec de Monterrey Puebla and in front of 3,500 home fans at El Templo del Dolor in Puebla, lost 31-17 to Mexico’s CONADEIP All-Stars, leveling the series at 3-3.
Annual spring tours
Eight teams from colleges and high schools in the United States traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe as Global Football continued to lead the way in exporting the gridiron game internationally for a 19th consecutive year. Club and national teams welcomed their American visitors for a memorable mix of cultural exchanges, sightseeing and ultimately an opportunity to meet competitively on the field in some of Europe’s most picturesque settings.
Global Bowl – Spain
The Team Stars & Stripes high school select team traveled to Barcelona, Spain, and beat a Cataluña representative team 47-6 in front of 1,100 fans. The annual Global Bowl has been played in Japan (2008 and 2009), France / Belgium (2010), Germany (2011), Italy (2012 and 2013) and Spain (2014), with Team Stars & Stripes boasting a 5-2 record.
Siena Heights Football – Italy
Led by head coach Jim Lyall, Siena Heights University beat the Italian National Team coached by former NFL coach John Mackovic 35-3 in Viterbo as Saints quarterback Travis Zajkowski threw for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The visiting group from enjoyed some of Italy’s most famous sites including ancient Roman landmarks, the Coliseum and Forum during a guided tour, a day-trip to Florence, and an excursion to Assisi, a small town of narrow streets and medieval walls, and the birthplace of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order. As the group journeyed to Rome, they saw the ancient Etruscan stronghold of Orvieto, situated on a volcanic plateau surrounded by steep cliffs, enjoyed a visit to Viterbo and took a guided tour of the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica.
Southwestern University – Stuttgart, Germany
The Pirates student athletes from the Georgetown, TX school visited Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Munich and Stuttgart, from for 12 days of experiencing a new culture and making lasting friendships. Head coach Joe Austin led his team to a 48-7 win over the Stuttgart Scorpions.
John Carroll University – Athens, Greece & Rome, Italy
The Blue Streaks enjoyed the sights of Rome and Pompeii, while also visiting Vatican City and spending time on the beach in Pesaro. After beating the Pesaro Angels 81-7, they took an overnight ferry from Ancona to Patras in Greece, where they spent four days sightseeing, visiting the ancient ruins of Delphi, and enjoy guided tours of Athens, taking in the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
Claremont McKenna College – Prague, Czech Republic & Vienna, Austria
The traveling CMS party began their European tour in the Czech Republic, visiting the old town and castle district of Prague before taking a river cruise. The Stags practiced at the Prague Lions facility before crossing the border into Austria to practice at the home of the Vienna Vikings. The group enjoyed a guided sightseeing tour of Vienna and visited the Schönbrunn Palace, Danube Tower and Prater Amusement Park.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps lost 21-14 to the Austrian National Team in a hard-fought Turkish Airlines Charity Bowl at a packed Hohe Warte Stadium.
Rose-Hulman – Barcelona, Spain
The Fightin’ Engineers discovered brilliant Barcelona, a city of graceful Gothic churches, wrought-iron balconies and wide, grand avenues filled with outdoor cafés. They visited Parque Güell, a garden complex with architectural elements designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and saw Montjuïc Hill, where the 1992 Summer Olympic Games took place. The group also enjoyed Tapas dinner and a Flamenco show, an excursion to Montserrat, with its mountain setting providing a dramatic backdrop for the 9th-century monastery whose basilica houses the Black Virgin Mary of Montserrat.
After beating a Spanish select team 72-0, they visited Tarragona and Salou to relax and enjoy the beach, before rounding off the trip with an evening cruise along the Costa Dorada coast in a private catamaran.
Pop Warner Super Bowl
A record number of teams traveled through Global Football to participate in the International Bowl games at the Pop Warner Super Bowl at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Florida. For the first time, a team representing the United Arab Emirates competed alongside teams from Canada and Mexico in the Midget and Junior Midget divisions.
Ritsumeikan Uji High School Visit To San Diego
San Diego welcomed a group of Japanese student athletes from Ritsumeikan Uji High School in Kyoto to Southern California for a seventh time as part of a unique visit through Global Football. The Japanese visitors improved their English language skills and increased their knowledge of American football under legendary former Torrey Pines High School head coach Ed Burke, while enjoying an educational and cultural experience. The visit included a chance to watch the San Diego Chargers and USC Trojans in action.
Web Summit Ireland
Global Football President Patrick Steenberge spoke at the Sport Summit at the prestigious Web Summit event ‘Where the Tech World Meets’ in Dublin, Ireland, among an illustrious list of more than 500 guest speakers in Dublin. Steenberge joined Gaelic Players Association President Donal Og Cusack for a session to discuss Amateur Ethos in a professional game. Clubs and individuals also presenting at the Sport Summit included the Boston Red Sox, Manchester United, ESPN, The Financial Times, the Gaelic Athletic Association, Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, Rio Ferdinand and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.
New Sports For Global Football
Devotees of rugby, soccer and lacrosse were welcomed into the Global Football family in 2014.
The Fenwick Friars from Chicago (rugby) toured Ireland and received expert coaching to aid their game development attending clinics and playing games against topsides St Michaels College, Galwegians and Old Crescent RFC.
The Siena Heights women’s soccer team traveled to Italy, touring Sienna and Viterbo and faced two Serie A club opponents, Lazio and Firenze.
Global Football announced it would take lacrosse teams from North America to Ireland in July 2015 to participate in the Celtic Lacrosse Open, organized by Ireland Lacrosse.