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20140326_112843They have traveled from across the United States – from Arizona, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania – to play football overseas in the unlikely but dramatic setting of Barcelona, Spain.

The annual Global Bowl series, featuring a traveling squad of high school student-athletes, sees Team Stars & Stripes take on a Cataluña representative team under head coach Bill Gallagher of Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania.  On Saturday at 2pm in a Barcelona stadium just 100 yards from the beachside Olympic Village, the select roster of American players will realize their dream of playing football overseas.

“The team we brought to Spain is coming together nicely, as they boys are getting to know one another on and off the field,” said Gallagher.  “It is difficult to put in everything we need in such a short time, but the players are smart, eager to learn what we are installing.  Our coaching staff is doing a superb job.  Thanks to all the people who made it possible for these young men to have this experience.”

The Team Stars & Stripes traveling roster is drawn from Mountain View High School in Arizona, Baxter Community School in Iowa, Gilmour Academy and Villa Angela-St. Joseph in Ohio and from Pennsylvania schools Cardinal O’Hara, Episcopal Academy, Father Judge, Germantown Academy, The Haverford School, Malvern Prep, Roxborough, and William Penn Charter.

Adding an international flavor to the roster is Italian defensive back Simone Alinovi.  The promising youngster has impressed for his hometown Parma Panthers team and will line up in the Team Stars & Stripes secondary, hoping his performance will lead to an opportunity to play football in America.

Alinovi, who would like to enroll at a high school in Arizona, led the Panthers with 9 interceptions last season, returning one for a touchdown.  He returned 6 punts for 83 yards, 5 kickoffs for 138 yards and on the offensive side of the ball rushed twice for 11 yards.  The versatile Italian also handled kicking and punting duties and was Parma’s leading points scorer in 2013.

The Global Bowl series has been contested previously in Japan (2008 and 2009), France / Belgium (2010), Germany (2011) and Italy (2012 and 2013).  Team Stars & Stripes boasts an all-time 4-2 record, but it is the cultural experience and opportunity to enjoy the sights of Barcelona and the Catalan region that are as much a focus of the trip as time spent on the football field.

Running back / safety Riley Kordek of Germantown Academy said: “I am really happy now that I have studied Spanish for five years, and plan to major in the subject in college.  All day long I am translating for my teammates, in all kinds of situations, which is fun to do in order to help them.  Saturday will be amazing when we get to play against the Spanish team.  The food and everything else has been much better than I ever expected.”

Game notes:

  • Head coach Bill Gallagher played in the same backfield as Global Football President Patrick Steenberge at the University of Notre Dame in 1970 and ’71.
  • QB / DL Zach Samson carries on a family tradition after his brother Danny was a member of the 2009 Team Stars & Stripes team that played in Japan against the Japanese junior national team, and the college-age Team Stars & Stripes that won the Tazón de Estrellas in Mexico in 2013.
  • Assistant coach John Storey of Villa-Angela St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, OH, has coached in each of the six previous Global Bowl games.
  • Mountain View (AZ) High School pair David Ogden and John Reynolds are both poised to begin military careers after they graduate.  Ogden is headed to the Naval Academy and Reynolds to West Point.
  • Linebacker Parker Berzin was a second team All-Ohio selection as a senior, despite missing the start of the season through injury, and a first team All-Ohio selection as a junior.
  • FB/LB Patrick Cawley of Germantown Academy was a first team All-Inter AC selection in 2013.
  • DE/TE/FB Matt Cunningham won second team All-Catholic League honors with Father Judge in 2013
  • K/P Connor Foley traveled to Ireland with Father Judge in 2012 to play in the Global Football event GIFT 2012, as well as teammates Kevin Kovacs and Matt Cunnigham.
  • WR Hank Adens had 493 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a DB for Roxborough High in 2013 and won All-Public selection honors.
  • Two-way lineman Kevin Fabian of Roxborough High won All-Public selection honors.

Team Stars & Stripes Coaching Staff

Head Coach:
Bill Gallagher, Episcopal Academy, Philadelphia, PA,

Assistant Coaches:
John Storey, Villa-Angela St. Joseph High School, Cleveland, OH
Dean Greenberg, Mountain View High School, Tucson, AZ
John Florio, Cardinal O’Hara, Philadelphia, PA
Shawn Dodd, Gilmour Academy, Cleveland, Oh.

History of Team Stars & Stripes games (high school age team)

GE Global Challenge Bowl
Kawasaki, Japan
Japan U-19 National Team 24- Team Stars & Stripes 14

Global Challenge Bowl
Kawasaki, Japan
Japan U-19 National Team 38 -Team Stars & Stripes 21

Global Bowl France
Amiens, France
Brussels All-Stars 0-Team Stars & Stripes 83

Global Bowl Germany
Munich, Germany
Munich Cowboys Juniors 0-Team Stars & Stripes 34

Global Bowl Italy
Rome, Italy
Italian U-19 National Team 0-Team Stars & Stripes 50

Global Bowl Torino
Torino, Italy
Italian U-19 National Team 0-Team Stars & Stripes 67