Global Football enjoyed another stellar year in 2014, spreading the word of international American football through 13 countries, while enabling student-athletes to learn about unique lands, fascinating people, and the sports environment in different parts of the world.
College, high school, youth and select teams traveled with Global Football to Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico and Spain, while others visited the United States from Canada, Japan, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. Global Football alumni playing in the NFL, a focus on three new sports, and a book publishing deal and illustrious speaking engagement for President Patrick Steenberge made 2014 a highly successful year.
“As I look back on 2014 there were so many uniquely different people, moments, places and events that they are at times a swirl in my mind. Yet each one stands clearly in my memory, as we try to savor every moment and encounter. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to provide a vehicle for student athletes and coaches from around the globe to be able to travel, compete, explore and expand their horizons. It truly was a blessed year.”
2014 Global Football Highlights
• 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.
• 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, while the Siena Heights women’s soccer team traveled to Italy and faced two Serie A club opponents. 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.
• Tate Publishing announced the signing of author and entrepreneur, Patrick Steenberge and his soon-to-be-published book Tupande Kileleni: Let’s Climb to the Summit Together, the story of how the dream of one coach, Chris Creighton, and the teamwork of leaders from Mexico, USA and Tanzania allowed student-athletes to showcase the sport they love to an eager crowd of 12,000 intrigued Tanzanians, then bonded while serving the local community and climbing to the summit of the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro. The book will be available early in 2015.
• 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.
• Under head coach Don DeWaard of Central College, 40 seniors selected from 17 NCAA Division III colleges participated in the Tazon 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Annual spring tours saw eight teams from colleges and high schools in the United States travel 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.
Traveling with Global Football in 2014 were:
|Game / activity
|Team Stars & Stripes
High school select team
|Beat Cataluña representative team 47-6
|Fenwick Friars (IL) HS Rugby
& Galway, Ireland
|Attended clinics and played games with
St Michaels College, Galwegians and
Old Crescent RFC
|Siena Heights University (MI)
|Beat Italian National Team 35-3
|Siena Heights University (MI)
|Sienna and Viterbo,
|Played matches against Serie A clubs
Lazio and Firenze
|Southwestern University (TX)
|Beat Stuttgart Scorpions 48-7
|John Carroll University (OH)
& Rome, Italy
|Beat Pesaro Angels 81-7
|Claremont McKenna College (CA)
|Prague, Czech Republic
& Vienna, Austria
|Lost 21-14 to Austrian National Team in
Turkish Airlines Charity Bowl
|Beat Spanish select team 72-0