During the 29th Olympiad in Beijing last summer, the world came together in true celebration of sport and camaraderie to compete in the highest attended Olympic Games in modern times. People tuned in from all over the globe to witness history as medals were garnered and records were broken in unprecedented fashion.
In Canton, Ohio from June 25-July 5, the world will again be treated to another first for international competition. The first ever International Federation of America Football (IFAF) Junior World Championships will take place in Canton, the site of where the National Football League was founded in 1920 and the current home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Canton will welcome seven international delegations and Team USA to Fawcett Stadium and Walsh University as the world’s best high-school age football players compete for gold in an eight-team tournament. Teams qualified through international pool play to win the opportunity to travel to Stark County this June. Teams that have already qualified for the tournament include: Team USA, Japan, Germany, Sweden, France, and number one seed Canada. Mexico and Australia are expected to qualify out but at the time of print still had to play pool finals.
The event will mark the first time in the sport of football’s long and storied legacy that a player will dawn the USA on his jersey on home soil. The IFAF Senior World Championships were played in Japan, just outside the city of Kawasaki in 2006 in which college aged players from the United States won gold over Japan by way of a field-goal in triple overtime. Similar tournaments, smaller in scale, such as a Pan-America Games or European Championships have been played under the IFAF recognized NCAA rules, with the exception of playing 12-minute quarters as opposed to the 15-minute quarters at the collegiate level.
Team USA will arrive on June 12 for a two-week training camp to be held at Walsh University in North Canton. Sweden is also expected to be on site roughly a week early to prepare for the tournament. The remaining countries will be arriving by June 25 for registration and an opening reception for tournament participants and hosts. June 27 will be the first day of competition with four games slated to take place at Fawcett Stadium 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. with the USA Team playing in the finale after the Opening Ceremonies at 7 p.m. The same format of four games will take place on Wednesday, July 1 with match-ups based on a winners and consolation bracket. The slate for Saturday, July 4 will feature the 7-8, 5-6, and bronze medal finals. The tournament will conclude Sunday, July 5 with the gold medal championship game and closing ceremonies. A TV partner is expected to be announced in early spring and will televise the July 4 games on tape delay and the gold medal game live on Sunday afternoon.
Tickets will be $15 reserved seating for the entire day, and $10 for general admission for all day as well. Prices will be the same for all four game days. More information on both the tournament and admittance can be found by visiting www.jwcfootball.com.
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