Football players Chris Rushton '17 and Kevin Daniel '17 recently traveled to China to play in the Global Ambassador's Bowl.
"Global Football was started by a Notre Dame University player to promote the game of 'American Football' in foreign countries," explained former EA football coach Bill Gallagher. "The games are referred to as Ambassador Bowls as the players are truly ambassadors of the sport and their country. The U.S. players are treated like rock stars as we tour and are often stopped by locals asking for pictures."
Chris Rushton plays defensive back and wide receiver. "We had the opportunity to teach some of our skills to little kids who were learning how to play football," said Chris. "Playing against an all-Chinese team was definitely something I wasn't use to."
"It was an amazing experience that reminded me again why exactly I love the sport. It was really fascinating to see kids of all ages playing American football," shared Kevin. "The team we played was only together for a little under a year. It was interesting to play the Chinese national team. They certainly have a lot of potential to be really good in the future." Kevin is a runningback and linebacker.
The U.S. players spent the first few days in Beijing before heading to Shanghai for the game. "I really enjoyed the touring part and learning about the culture of China. I tried many new things that I couldn't experience in America," said Chris.
"It is very important that we take players that know how to play the game but, even more important, is that they know how to act, how to represent American teenagers, their families, their schools, and their country," shared Coach Gallagher. "Chris and Kevin did that to the utmost degree. They are great kids, mature, friendly, intellectual and good players- just like the EA student-athletes who have participated in these trips over the past eight years."
Kevin was struck by how many of the Chinese players speak fluent English. He made friends with a player who was born in Scranton. "It left me in awe to see that he is from a part of Pennsylvania that is not too far, yet he is playing football all the way across the world."
Since the program started in 1996, American players have travelled to Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and the Czech Republic. The annual game is organized by Texas-based Global Football. Team "Stars and Stripes" is represented by players from across the United States. The U.S. team travelled to China April 1 - 9.
The game against the American Football Academy was played in Shanghai on Saturday, April 8.