Two more college football programs will travel to Europe with Global Football as D-III John Carroll University and NAIA Benedictine College head across the Atlantic on Monday.
Global Football kicked off a 22nd year of taking American football teams overseas on the sporting and cultural adventures of a lifetime when the first of seven traveling colleges set sail for Europe and Asia last week.
John Carroll University (Ohio) is returning to for Spain for the first time since their debut visit there 20 years ago, on the school’s eighth overseas venture with Global Football. The have traveled previously to Spain (1997), Italy (2001), Ireland (2004), Switzerland (2007), France (2010), Ireland (2012) and Greece & Italy (2014). Benedictine College (Kansas) will explore Germany and Austria, having visited France in 2009.
John Carroll University to Spain from May 22-30. Opponent: Catalan All-Stars
The Blue Streaks have traveled more than any other college with Global Football, dating back to the second year of such overseas visits.
John Carroll went 12-2 in 2016, making a run to the national semifinals. It was only the second time in school history that the team reached that point in the postseason.
Rick Finotti, an accomplished former high school head coach at Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward, who has spent the last two seasons on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at the University of Michigan, is the new and 18th head coach in the 96-year history of the John Carroll University program.
“It is an honor and a privilege to represent John Carroll University in our trip to Spain,” said coach Finotti. “The John Carroll football program has a long history serving as ambassadors for football to the world. To have our student-athletes be exposed to other cultures is an incredible educational opportunity. We want to thank Global Football for the organization for this trip and experiencing all that Spain has to offer.”
While in beautiful Barcelona, the visiting Blue Streaks party will experience all the sights of the city, including the Mercat de la Boquería, with its the bright colors of fruits and vegetables, spices and fresh seafood, Las Ramblas and the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. They will journey north to Monserrat, where the mountain setting provides a dramatic backdrop for the 9th-century monastery that houses the Black Virgin Mary of Montserrat, the Cave of Saint Ignatius and the Chapel in Manresa.
Following a visit to the famous Nou Camp home of FC Barcelona, the Blue Streaks will play an exhibition game against a Catalan All-Star team on Saturday, May 27, then will have a chance to enjoy the relaxed beach town of Sitges and Arragona, a city with years of medieval history. The visit ends with a private catamaran ride and an awards dinner.
Benedictine College to Austria from May 22-30. Opponent: Swarco Raiders
The Ravens went 7-4 last season, finishing in a tie for third in the Heart South while also finishing the 2016 season ranked 23rd in the postseason poll released by the NAIA on December 20.
They will visit Germany and Austria, starting off in Munich where walking tours of the city will be followed by a visit to the Dachau Memorial. On the fifth day, the group will cross the border into Austria, visit the Swarovski crystal factory and museum, tour historic Innsbruck, visit the Berigsel ski jump and see the Neuschwanstein Castle.
“The Benedictine College Raven football program has been fortunate to make a number of international trips previously,” said head coach Larry Wilcox. “We have visited Paris, Stockholm, Lucerne, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Rome and others. Now we have the chance to play in one of the most beautiful settings possible, in traveling to Innsbruck.
“We also have played some of the best teams that Europe and Scandinavia offer. The Swarco Raiders is another of those great teams, and we look forward to the challenge. More importantly, this opportunity offers our players, staff and fans the chance to meet the people of Austria, while enjoying the culture, history and beautiful sights.”
Coach Wilcox takes his team back to Europe after an absence of eight years and on Saturday, May 27, will face one of the continent’s most successful football programs in the Innsbruck Swarco Raiders. Under head coach Shuan Fatah, the Raiders defeated the D-III Elmhurst Blue Jays 24-10 in 2016 in front of 5,000 noisy fans at the Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck.
The Tyroleans were formed in 1992 and won a first national championship in 2004 along with the EFAF Cup that year and repeated that success in 2006, also claiming the Austrian Bowl. They played twice more in the Austrian Bowl (2008, 2010), but enjoyed their finest hour when winning the 2008 Eurobowl, contested by Europe’s elite clubs. The Raiders repeated as Eurobowl champions in 2009 and in 2011 celebrated the team’s best season ever, winning the Austrian Bowl and the Eurobowl, with Fatah at the helm for the first time. He led Swarco to three more championship finals in 2012 and 2013.
The Oakland Raiders and the Swarco Raiders Tirol have a partnership that sees both sides share experiences and information on and off the field and the team’s homepages feature articles and game previews and recaps on a regular basis.