Canada’s U19 national team prepares for showdown in Texas
Football Canada – U19 game opens 2016 International Bowl series on Jan. 31 at 3 pm CT
ARLINGTON, TX (January 30, 2016) – Football Canada’s U19 national team is preparing for their 2016 International Bowl series matchup against the U.S. U19 national team on Sunday January 31 at 3 pm (CT) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The entire eight game series can be seen live online, outside the U.S., by visiting www.footballcanada.com or www.internationalbowl.com.
Both Canada’s U18 and U19 national teams began training camp on Monday in the Lone Star State, preparing for this year’s series against the U.S. national teams.
Canada’s U19 national team will face a roster of blue chip prospects headed to top division 1 NCAA programs. Alumni of the game include RB TODD GURLEY (Georgia State/St. Louis Rams), DB TYRANN MATHIEU (LSU/Arizona Cardinals), QB BRYCE PETTY (Baylor/New York Jets), RB SAMAJE PERINE (Oklahoma) and DL STEPHON TUITT (Notre Dame/Pittsburgh Steelers).
“It’s always tough to match-up against the U.S., in terms of the U19 program,” said head coach and International Bowl veteran since 2010, Warren Craney. “They do a really good job of making sure that they get those 5-star recruits and show them off.”
“We play a high caliber of football in Canada and you know we’ve tried to bring as old of a team as possible, I think that pays dividends. That extra year and that maturation is such a value to us.”
Led by the Junior National Team coaching staff, Canada’s U19 International Bowl squad will benefit from the return of York receivers JACOB JANKE and COLTON HUNCHAK, Calgary Dinos o-lineman SPENCER ROY and Windsor linebacker LOWHYA LAKO. Canada adds to its experience with eight graduates from last year’s U18 national team including the trio of GREG HUTCHINS, SAMUEL LEFEBVRE and PAYTON HALL, who participated on the U18 squad the previous two International Bowls.
“This is a really talented Canadian group. It’s nice to see a lot of familiar faces that have been with the program before and I think that’s going to pay dividends for this program.”
Craney believes the team’s international experience helps stabilize the squad and provide direction.
“Just to have that leadership on a team, it just gives us the ability to do so much more, quicker,” he explained. “That’s probably one of the reasons that we’ve bonded that much more as a team and that much quicker. Those kids are really taking on a leadership role and you can see it just by the way that things are going in practice.”
Canada’s head coach also believes this year’s U19 national team might be the best that has yet to be assembled in Texas for the International Bowl.
“As far as a best pure Canadian U19 team, this is by far the best we’ve ever had and I think that this is the best group of kids that we could assemble in order to compete and beat the US.”
The U19 national team also boasts the dynamic running back tandem of OUA Rookie of the Year JESSE AMANKWAA alongside the cégep division 1 Rookie of the Year and rushing yards leader DYNELL PIERRE.
Canada’s defense will be lead by impact linebacker DESHAWN STEVENS, 2015 Vanier Cup defensive MVP STAVROS KATSANTONIS, and Oklahoma State verbal commit AMEN OGBONGBEMIGA, a 3-star linebacker out of Calgary’s Notre Dame High School.
As part of Football Canada’s national teams program, this year’s International Bowl serves as the final step in the selection process for the Junior National Team.
Canada’s U18 and U19 national team programs represent a pool of identified players in preparation for the 2016 worlds. Based on player’s performances at this year’s International Bowl, a roster of 45 players will be selected to represent their country at the 2016 IFAF U19 World Championship in China.
The International Bowl, held to coincide with NCAA’s National Signing Day, was established in 2010 as an annual Team USA versus the World game until it transitioned into its current format in 2014. The event is a collaboration of the sport’s national governing bodies in each country – USA Football and Football Canada – featuring top student-athletes in football’s greatest annual international competition.
Canada’s U19 national team, 2016 International Bowl
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About Football Canada
Established in 1884, Football Canada is the national governing body of amateur football in Canada and a proud member of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). Working closely with the provincial football associations, we develop programs and resources for players, coaches, officials in the three disciplines of Tackle, Flag and Touch Football. Football Canada’s vision statement is “from playground to stadium” where players can participate in the game of football throughout a lifetime recreationally, competitively and internationally.