The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Team Development Camp begins today on the campus of IMG Academy. The camp hosts more than 75 aspiring high school players from 19 different countries including: Japan; Brazil; Denmark; Costa Rica; France; and Australia. The camp is held to help identify members of the World Team, a collection of the top international players aged 19 and younger, who will compete against USA Football’s Under-19 National Team in the International Bowl in Austin, Texas on February 5, 2013.
“Working with IFAF to bring the World Team Development program to IMG Academy is an exciting opportunity that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” said Chris Weinke, Director of Football, IMG Academy. “Every year, there are more international players joining college and professional football teams, so camps like this are necessary to maintain momentum in the international growth of the game.”
Participants will engage in two-a-day practices beginning on Thursday, Jan. 4, and end the training with a full 11-on-11 scrimmage, Tuesday, Jan. 8. The IFAF World Team Program began four years ago as an elite international player and coach development initiative designed to provide an opportunity for the world's top players and coaches to further develop, while collectively showcasing the game's growth on the global stage. Exposure from the World Team program has led to players from around the world receiving scholarship offers to top colleges such as Florida State University; Boston College; the University of Alabama; and many others.
IMG Academy was selected as the official training provider for the IFAF World Team program due in part to its commitment to international player development at the youth, collegiate, and professional levels. Through youth football camps, clinics, and events, IMG Academy has attracted thousands of youth football players from the U.S. and 35 nations, including: France; Japan; Panama; Mexico; Italy; Brazil; Venezuela; and Canada. In 2013, IMG Academy will 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.
The start of the World Team Development Camp also coincides with the beginning of IMG Academy’s 2013 NFL Combine/Draft Training Program, which has its own international flair this year with Estonia’s Margus Hunt joining the class. Hunt arrived in Bradenton, Fla. after earning Hawaii Bowl MVP honors when he recorded two sacks, two forced fumbles and a safety en route to leading Southern Methodist University to an upset win over Fresno State. Hunt continues an international trend with the NFL Combine/Draft Training Program, following in the footsteps of Germany’s Markus Kuhn, who arrived from North Carolina State University as a member of last year’s training class. Kuhn went on to join the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants as a seventh-round NFL Draft selection. Kuhn made the active roster as a rookie, and saw action in 10 games with one start in 2012.
The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) unites 64 countries on six continents through a burgeoning international sport. With national football federations in existence for more than 75 years, IFAF was created in 1998 to organize and further develop the game through international cooperation and global competition. The IFAF office is located near Paris, France.
About IMG Academy
IMG Academy is the world-leading provider of academic, athletic and personal development programs. With expert instruction, a proven training methodology, professional-grade facilities and a challenging and motivating learning environment that brings together individuals of all ages and backgrounds, IMG Academy provides the ultimate foundation for future success.
The Bradenton, Fla.-based campus annually attracts nearly 200,000 athletes, coaches, event participants and spectators from 100 countries. IMG Academy offers sports camps and academy programs, in addition to training opportunities for adult, collegiate and professional athletes, as well as teams and leagues. IMG Academy is also the host venue for countless international amateur and professional sporting events.
Adam Provost, IFAF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 602-432-4407
Johnny Esfeller, IMG Academy, email@example.com, 941-752-2461