A record number of nine international teams are heading to Florida with Global Football to play at the Pop Warner Super Bowl at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista. For the first time since Global Football began recruiting teams to participate in the illustrious annual event, the United Arab Emirates will be represented, alongside regular competitors from Canada and Mexico.
The teams will participate in the International Bowl Games in the Midget and Junior Midget divisions at the 58th annual Pop Warner Super Bowl from December 6 through 13.
“The appeal of youth American football continues to spread and we are delighted to introduce youngsters from the United Arab Emirates to international competition,” said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. “Along with their opponents from Canada and Mexico, they will enjoy what is always a memorable Pop Warner event.”
The 11 to 14-year-olds will join 64 teams and more than 400 dance and cheer squads from across the United States in Florida to play three games, ending with a championship game and placing games. The International Bowl games will be played on December 8, 11 and 13.
Under head coach Patrick Campos the EAFL (Emirates American Football League) Falcons will include players selected from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain to represent the United Arab Emirates.
The EAFL is in its third year of existence and played its first international competitions at the U19 and U15 levels in Shanghai, China. The U15 EAFL Youth Falcons hosted German powerhouse, the Düsseldorf Panther, for two games in October 2014 and is the first youth team from the Eastern Hemisphere to travel to Orlando for the Pop Warner Super Bowl. The EAFL consists of players from more than 40 different countries.
A select team from Ontario will represent Canada in the international division for a fifth straight year, while Mexico will feature teams from Mexico City, Puebla, Queretaro and Toluca.
“Every year that we attend our players have a fabulous time, from the friends we meet and the level of play we experience,” said Patricia Lamont from the Canadian team. “It is an honour and a privilege to be able to attend this Friendship Bowl with the international teams and we hope that we are able to do so in the years to come. We would like to thank Patrick Steenberge and his staff for all of their time and effort.”
Pop Warner Executive Director Jon Butler said: “We are always delighted to see more interest from international teams who play the game of American football, have chosen to participate at our Pop Warner Super Bowl, and are coming to be a part of our annual celebration.
“We would love to see more Pop Warner leagues overseas. We have taken very proactive steps regarding player safety and think that is important for teams to take onboard not only in the U.S. but internationally also.”
More information on the Pop Warner Super Bowl: http://www.popwarnersb.com/14superbowl/pop.asp