The annual Tazón De Estrellas (Bowl of the Stars) featuring a Global Football-organized Team Stars & Stripes squad of select NCAA Division III student-athletes will be hosted for the second year running by CETYS University in Mexicali, Mexico.
The success and popularity of the 2015 event has led to the game against the CONADEIP All-Stars representing Mexico’s private universities being played in the main Mexicali campus at the renovated Zorros Stadium on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
Team Stars & Stripes will be led for a fifth time by head coach Don DeWaard, a former defensive coordinator with Central College (Iowa). His bold two point conversion call on the game’s final possession earned a 15-14 win at the Margarita Astiazrán de Fimbres Stadium on the CETYS Tijuana campus last December. Team Stars & Stripes now leads the Tazón de Estrellas series 4-3 and DeWaard holds a 3-1 record.
“We were so impressed with the professionalism exhibited by the CETYS University people last year that we are thrilled to return, this time on their main campus in Mexicali,” said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. “This will be the nineteenth year that we will bring top NCAA D-III seniors to Mexico to compete, experience, and serve with our friends in Mexico, especially those representing CONADEIP. We are ready for another fantastic week and highly competitive game.”
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
Zorros Stadium will feature brand new grass turf, a new drainage and watering system, and will not be played on before the Tazón de Estrellas game and practices. The main grandstand will be totally new, with seating for 2,000 fans, with an option to add bleachers to increase capacity. The press box is being renovated and a new electronic scoreboard installed along with new stadium lighting.
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.
Tazón de Estrellas History
Team Stars & Stripes recovered from a 14-point deficit in 2015 to produce a stunning a fourth quarter comeback and claim a 15-14 win. With his team trailing by seven points and three yards from the end zone, quarterback Brady Huber was flushed from the pocket, but retained his composure to find George Vidas for a touchdown, meaning the Americans trailed by a point. Then, following a Team Stars & Stripes time out and the decision to go for it all rather than kick the tying point, came a rehearsed and perfectly executed two-point conversion pass from Matt McDaniels to Huber that capped a thrilling victory.
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 Patrick Steenberge presented the concept to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and they helped fund it from 1997 to 2007, giving worthy D-III 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 former Washington Redskins Pro Bowl LB London Fletcher (John Carroll / 1997 game), Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks RB Fred Jackson (Coe College / 2002 game) and Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings LB Jason Trusnik (Ohio Northern / 2007 game).