The IFAF World Team coaching staff from thirteen countries landed in Austin, Texas for the 2012 International Bowl despite weather conditions attempting to keep them away.
The third annual International Bowl features the U.S. Under-19 National Team comprised of the top high school players in the country against an IFAF World Team of premiere players age 19-and-under from outside the United States. Both teams will field a roster of 50 players. U.S. National Team players and coaches are selected by USA Football, while the World Team is selected by IFAF.
The 2012 International Bowl will be played on Wednesday, February 1, at 5pm CT at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.
Some coaches including Defensive Coordinator Warren Craney, who is head coach of York University in Canada, had an interesting journey to Austin as he arrived in Dallas to find out the last leg of his trip was cancelled resulting in a seven-hour layover.
"It was a long time, but at least it was a nice airport," said Coach Craney.
The coach that traveled the furthest was offensive line coach Paul Manera who journeyed all the way from Australia an impressive 8,480 miles. Manera returns for the third consecutive year as a member of the IFAF World Team coaching staff. In Australia, he coaches the Bondi Raiders.
Once all the coaches arrived, it was immediate game mode as they held meetings that night to strategize how they would prepare the IFAF World Team who will arrive in Texas on Thursday, January 25. The meetings were led by Head Coach Greg Marshall, whoreturns for his second consecutive year as head coach and in 2010 was also a member of the coaching staff.
"It feels great to be back here," he said. "A lot of familiar faces certainly from USA Football, IFAF and the coaching staff. Familiarity from the coaching staff is always good. You don't have to worry about breaking through barriers. We have a great group of people.
"We are going to plan for the next couple of days, get the first day of practice ready, but also be flexible to accommodate for our specific players. I will get through the first days and evaluate from there.
"Our goal is to win the game. We came down here to win among other reasons. It is about renewing friendships. I have had some great experiences and USA Football puts together a great event."
Another returning coach who is excited about the event is linebacker coach Suaese "Pooch" Ta'ase who coaches football in American Samoa.
"My experiences with the IFAF World Team have been great," said Coach Ta'ase. "Football wise I have gained so much knowledge from Coach Marshall. See other ways to teaching the technical part of the game with different techniques at positions.
"And I have been blessed to return this year and I am excited to be here. When you stop learning about football, someone is going to go ahead of you. I am going to absorb as much as I can.
"When you fall down, you have to get back up. It's a lesson for life. We have come close the first two years against USA, but this year we are here to win."
In 2011 the IFAF World Team narrowly lost 21-14 to Team USA at Westlake High School in Austin, and in 2010, the Americans were held scoreless until the final play of the first half before going on to win 17-0 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
The IFAF World Team players arrive tomorrow and will hold their first practices on Friday.