Northside football player Dale Russ selected to American Football Worldwide ELITE TeamPublished 11:09am Tuesday, March 11, 2014
MOLINE, Ill. – Northside lineman Dale Russ will represent the United States as part of the American Football Worldwide ELITE team in a game against the national U19 team of France scheduled to take place in Paris on March 29th, 2014.
This past fall, Russ played defensive and offensive line for the Panthers. He is a three-time All-Coastal Plains Conference selection, a two-time All-Academic CPC selection, and a two-time defensive lineman of the year. In his senior season and third year at the varsity level, Russ served as the captain for Head Coach Keith Boyd’s squad. He will play football at Chowan University next fall.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to represent the United States and American-style football,” said Russ. “I don’t know what could be better for a high school senior football player than to get to travel to France and play one last game against a French team that wants to better learn and have the experience of playing an American team.”
This game brings together graduating high school seniors of the United States to compete against the French team in what will be a rematch of last year’s inaugural game. Last year’s trip not only marked the first time a scholastic team from the US competed on French soil, but also the first time one traveled overseas to play against a national team that had qualified for the World Championships of American Football. In the 2012 U19 World Championships of American Football held in Austin, Texas, France finished sixth. Last summer in Europe, France finished second only to Austria. The French squad again earned a position to play in the 2014 U19 World Championships this upcoming July.
American Football Worldwide’s ELITE team comes from a true cross-section of the United States and represents nearly every corner and region of the country. Hailing from coast-to-coast, 20 different states are represented on the 34-man roster. Intermixed with the educational value of the trip, the team will refine football skills by working to find common ground in terminology and schemes, as well as in putting together a timely and formidable game plan against its French hosts.
“Meeting one another for the first time and installing an effective and well-coordinated game plan in all phases of football in less than a week will be a formidable challenge,” said head coach Jim Barnes. “However, from the research we have done, conversations we have had, and film we have viewed, our staff is excited about the potential for this team. It is clear the young men are highly capable. I believe that with all the fascinating educational touring and cultural experiences offered, the football focus will be there come game time. I expect us to work hard and compete with every American fiber we have in an effort to earn a victory.”
AFW ELITE team members will meet either in Chicago on Saturday, March 22nd or in Paris on the morning of Sunday, March 23rd. During the week the players, who will be joined by some family members and fans, will tour many of the historical icons of France, including the impressive sites of Paris, Versailles and the Normandy coast. Two days prior to kick-off, the players will tour the D-day beaches, the US Cemetery, and Peace Memorial on the bluffs overlooking the English Channel.
Looking forward to the tour, Barnes commented, “Observing these young men grow from the unique education that only international travel can offer will once again be a remarkable thrill. I know this will serve as a tremendously rewarding and life-expanding experience for them. What an incomparable emotion these young men will have running out to take the field in France wearing the red, white and blue on Saturday, March 29th!”