The 2012 U.S. Under-19 National Team, comprised of 50 top high school players spanning 19 states, will compete in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 1 – National Signing Day – in the third annual International Bowl®, formerly Team USA vs. The World. Team USA has awarded 49 of its 50 roster spots. The Americans will face an IFAF World Team of top players age 19-and-under from outside the United States. Visit the International Bowl website at: www.internationalbowl2012.com.
The International Bowl is sanctioned by International Federation of American Football and will be played at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex. IFAF is composed of more than 60 nations spanning six continents that possess a national federation dedicated solely to American football.
Blakemore is a 5-10, 175-pound wideout who caught 56 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall, earning Central Texas Player of the Year from the Austin American-Statesman. He added two more touchdowns on special teams and intercepted four passes on defense. His fourth-quarter interception helped seal a 21-14 victory for Wimberley in the 2011 Texas Class 3A Division II championship game.
Cooke is a 6-1, 195-pound senior who scored 114 points – including 17 field goals – in 2011 to go with 32 touchbacks. He helped Goochland reach the Virginia Group A Division 2 title game, kicking a 51-yard field goal in a 21-16 loss. He has verbally committed to play at Vanderbilt University.
Maguire threw for 1,183 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, leading Seton Hall Prep to the New Jersey playoffs. The 6-3, 200-pound quarterback has verbally committed to play at Florida State.
Tagaloa is a 6-8, 300-pound left tackle who has verbally committed to play at California. With the size and footwork to protect a quarterback's blind side, Tagaloa also has the strength to get out and open running lanes.
Team USA is led by STEVE SPECHT, head coach of Cincinnati St. Xavier High School. Specht led St. Xavier to Ohio Division I (largest school division) state titles in 2005 and 2007. He is 80-20 (.800) since becoming the head coach at his high school alma mater following the 2003 season.
A national team exemption granted by the NCAA allows high school seniors to play for USA Football and not have their participation count as one of their two permitted all-star game appearances. The International Bowl is recognized as a national team competition.
In addition to their exceptional high school football achievements, many Team USA players earned roster spots by virtue of their strong display of skills at the U.S. Under-19 National Team Trials in Marietta, Ga., in May. Nearly 200 high school football players from 32 states competed for a Team USA roster spot at the National Team Trials.
USA Football is the sport's national governing body in the United States and is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and NFL Players Association.
Greg Marshall of the University of Western Ontario in Canada is the IFAF World Team's head coach. The IFAF World Team's 13-member coaching staff hails from 10 IFAF member federations: American Samoa, Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Sweden.
The U.S. Under-19 team defeated The World, 21-14, in February 2011 in Austin, Texas, as well as 17-0, in January 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The U.S. also won the gold medal at the IFAF Under-19 World Championship in Canton, Ohio, during the summer of 2009.
Story published by Scout.com National Analyst Greg Powers.