Eisuke Sakamoto is 14-years old, and one of his life's ambitions is to become a great football player and help grow the game in his native Japan. His passion is so strong that he made the long journey - nearly 10,000 miles - from Tokyo to Bradenton, Fla. to work with IMG Academy's football program and take his game to the next level.
Sakamoto's father inspired his interest in game, insisting that he take up the sport. Prior to his arrival at IMG Academy, Sakamoto played in 10 games this season for his high school's club team, alternating between quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. However, he wants to focus on the wide receiver position, and cites the Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald as the player he tries to emulate. Sakamoto admires Fitzgerald's superior athletic ability and work ethic.
Sakamoto chose to come to IMG Academy to be at a facility where he could take ESL classes (English as a Second Language), while working with an experienced coaching staff that has developed countless prospects for the college and professional levels through its camp programs. IMG Academy's student body is comprised of students from more than 80 countries, and it's taking its player development to the next level in 2013 with the launch of its high school football team. This experience also gave Sakamoto the opportunity to experience an American high school training environment.
The IMG Academy football program is committed to international player development at the youth, collegiate, and professional levels. Through camps, clinics, and events, the program has attracted thousands of youth players from the U.S. and 35 nations, including: France; Japan; Panama; Mexico; Italy; Brazil; Venezuela; and Canada. In 2013, the football program is preparing to launch its first competitive high school football team. Members of the inaugural team will join one of the most culturally-diverse and talented student bodies in the world, consisting of more than 750 student-athletes representing 85 countries.
Earlier this year, the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) named IMG Academy its official training provider, and is bringing its World Team Development Camp to Bradenton, Fla., Jan. 3-9. The camp is expected to attract more than 200 players from 29 IFAF member nations.