The United States won the inaugural IFAF Under-19 World Championship in 2009 and opens defense of its title at 8 p.m. CT on June 30 against an opponent to be determined once seeds are awarded by IFAF. National team seeds will be determined and announced during world championship technical meetings Saturday, April 28, in Austin. The tournament's schedule will be finalized and announced in May.
U.S. Under-19 National Team athletes, selected by USA Football, arrive in Austin on June 22 for training camp. National teams will practice at Burger Stadium, Nelson Field Complex and House Park.
All players and coaches will be housed on the University of Texas campus.
U.S. head coach Steve Specht of Cincinnati St. Xavier High School is a two-time Ohio Division I Coach of the Year who has led the school to a pair of state titles (2005, 2007). Specht was the defensive coordinator on the 2009 U.S. Under-19 National Team and was head coach at the third annual International Bowl held Feb. 1 in Austin, where Team USA lost, 35-29, to an IFAF World Team composed of athletes and coaches from 19 countries.
NFL Draft prospect and Virginia Tech running back David Wilson earned 2009 IFAF Under-19 World Championship Most Valuable Player honors. Wilson, who set a school rushing record in 2011 (1,709 yards), ran for 427 yards and eight touchdowns on 33 carries in 2009 to lead Team USA to a 3-0 record and the gold medal.
The U.S. player roster and full coaching staff will be finalized and announced in the weeks ahead.
The Under-19 World Championship is part of the World Football Festival being held June 24 to July 12 throughout Austin. More than 2,000 players and coaches from around the world will gather to celebrate America's favorite sport in competition, development and cultural exchange. Other events during the World Football Festival include:
"It is an honor for Austin to host this world championship," Austin Sports Commission Executive Director Matthew Payne said. "We have enjoyed working with IFAF and USA Football officials through the planning process and look forward to showcasing our wonderful city to the many athletes coming from all over the world. The city of Austin and The University of Texas obviously have a strong football tradition, so we know our city will be a great home for football's international community."
"IFAF is excited to bring the best football talent age 19 and under from eight nations and four continents to the United States where football's biggest prize for junior players will be fiercely contested," IFAF President TOMMY WIKING said. "American football continues to develop around the world and this showcase of junior players will provide fans with top-quality competition and entertainment. Whether the United States defends its title, or if we crown a new champion, IFAF and USA Football promise a spectacular and memorable event."
"Exciting football played by tremendously talented teams from across the world is the heart of this tournament, but its significance is even greater and transcends sport," USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. "This competition embodies the universal values and power of football in a magnificent way.
"When you see the faces of players and coaches from these eight countries and their nations' flags spanning four continents, it's striking how we're united through our passion for the world's greatest game and the team-oriented values that football inspires."
Created in 1998 to organize and further develop the game through international cooperation and global competition, IFAF unites 62 countries on six continents. USA Football is the U.S. representative to IFAF and the only organization designated to field and manage U.S. National Teams in the sport.
The NCAA recognizes the IFAF Under-19 World Championship as a national team competition. Competing in the tournament is exempt from a high school athlete's limit of two all-star game appearances.