Defensive Coordinator Bill Gallagher is very familiar with Team Stars & Stripes and the wonderful opportunity the Ambassadors Bowl China will provide for the visiting American high school travelers.
Gallagher has served as head coach of the select team for each of the past four years, on visits to Italy and Spain. His relationship Global Football President Patrick Steenberge goes way back to the 1960s and 1970s, when they played college football together at the University of Notre Dame.
“The opportunity to be part of the first group at this high school level to visit China and help bring attention to the game in a what to us is a mysterious and exotic location is fantastic,” said Gallagher.
“We saw when we visited Europe that high schools are playing American football in some countries and they’re pretty advanced, so now we’re off to China where they have Arena Football and want to host a NFL game. I hope we can help them take steps to match the standard that Europe has managed to reach.”
Gallagher retired from full time coaching after many years guiding the fortunes of William Penn Charter School in Pennsylvania, but is a willing participant when asked to travel each year with Team Stars & Stripes. The novelty of playing a game against local opposition thousands of miles might be one of the highlights of the visit, but it is seeing a world of possibilities and opportunities opening to young players just starting out on the sporting and academic path that resonates with Gallagher.
“We are going to China with a great group of people and are taking these kids to experience something they will never forget, while having the chance to play football overseas,” he added. When else is that going to happen?
“I feel very blessed that my life from the third grade onwards has been centered around football and the game has been very good to me. I retired from high school coaching, but now I have opportunities like this through Global Football to see the world and help achieve Patrick’s goal of promoting the game.”
And don’t be surprised to hear a few Chinese words spoken by coach Gallagher and the student-athletes he is bringing with him from Pennsylvania.
“I spent some time talking the kids from Episcopal Academy about this journey and we had the school’s Mandarin professor Mr. Yang teach us some basic phrases to be able to say in China,” explained Gallagher. “The cultural side of this trip is very appealing and being able to say please and thank you in the local language is important.”