The bar has been set for USA Football’s Under-18 National Team as it prepares to play Canada as part of International Bowl Week in Austin, Texas.
On Sunday, the day of the Super Bowl, at Nelson Stadium some of America’s finest high school football players took the field for Day 2 of practice under sunny skies. The team has practices for four days before their matchup Wednesday against Team Canada.
Sunday’s practice went to the liking of head coach Chris Metzger, who praised his players for their attitudes on and off the field.
“I am impressed with everyone who is out there,” said Metzger, the head coach at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, N.C. “Everyone’s got a great attitude, and they’re helping each other.”
Metzger likes what he sees from quarterback Tucker Beirne of Christopher Columbus High School in Miami. The sophomore from Coral Gables, Fla., joins three of his teammates from Columbus on the Under-18 national team.
One of those players is junior tight end Jose Alvarado. The Miami native is in his second year of football. He fell in love with the sport after he stopped playing baseball.
Alvarado already has made a name for himself, shown by his selection to the national team.
“I love being out here,” Alvarado said. “I’m getting to play with some great players, and being on the team is the best way to get my name out.”
Alvarado sees football as a gateway toward earning a scholarship and continuing his education. He hopes football can help him get into an Ivy League school.
“I’m not really looking to go pro. I just want to get a good education,” he said.
Metzger also believes football players should focus on the classroom. Along with getting the team ready for the game, Metzger hopes to mold his players into respectable people off the field.
“I want them leaving here better men, better human beings, better students and better football players,” Metzger said.
For Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex, Metzger wants his team to continue to display its great attitude and give 110 percent every down.
He wants his players to perform at a high tempo and be fundamentally sound in their approach.
Above all, he wants his team to show class when they play their opponent.
The Upper Deck webcast will be available at www.youtube.com/usafootballtv.