In the spring of 2013 AFW assembled its first U19/HS Select team – AFW’s inaugural ELITE TEAM – with representative student-athletes from New York to California and Minnesota to Texas, 14 states in total, and traveled to France. AFW had accepted the invitation of the French Federation of American Football to bring a team to help grow and compete with their formidable national 19U team. Team members, family and the football staff experienced the historical significance memorialized on and near the beaches of Normandy, awe-inspiring Mont St. Michel, Versailles and all the beauty of Paris as French culture was absorbed and enjoyed. Practices, including a co-practice with French players in Normandy, built up schemes and camaraderie during the week culminating in a hard fought 19-0 win versus the talented and imposing French 19U team. AFW and these young men ‘Made History’ in playing in the first 19U/HS game of American football between the USA and France. The football fellowship was fantastic and the whole tour highly impactful.

In 2014, AFW expanded their programming with a second 19U/HS trip to France to play their 19U national championship team in the Paris Flash earning a convincing victory. AFW added their first college clients with Ohio Wesleyan University taking a trip to Italy and the University of Dubuque touring to northeast Spain and southwest France.

In 2015, the AFW ELITE TEAM program accepted an invitation from the Italian Federation of American Football and have since developed a great partnership in helping to develop and promote American football amongst 19U players in Italy while serving the educational and self-development growth for US student-athletes experienced in international travel – especially to such a historically rich country. AFW ELITE TEAM toured Rome, Vatican City, Florence, Cinque Terra, Milan and Lake Como concluding the week with another ‘history making’ first game between nations at the 19U/HS level. This game continued each and every spring through 2019 (having to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic).

The same year, AFW added college client Case Western Reserve University who also enjoyed a tour to Italy with a visit and co-practice with the Parma Panthers of “Playing for Pizza” fame.

2016 saw AFW ELITE return to Italy along with an expansive college tour season. Augustana College, Washington & Jefferson and Carthage College all enjoyed Rome, Vatican City, Florence and other overlapping sites with some variety also provided with stops in Bologna, San Marino, the Adriatic Coast or Cinque Terra, Bergamo, Milan and Lake Como. We know and serve interest in Italy exceptionally well. AFW also added Ireland as a destination taking Sewanee – the University of the South there to visit to visit Dublin, Galway, the Cliffs of Moher and Belfast, United Kingdom.

2017 saw AFW’s ELITE TEAM program ‘Make History’ once again with a 19U/HS tour to Ireland where US players of this age group played Ireland’s National 19U team for the first time. A second AFW ELITE TEAM traveled to Italy once again. The college team tour season saw Ohio Wesleyan University return to tour and compete in Europe this time taking in northeast Spain including Barcelona, Girona and Costa Brava. AFW also added Wartburg College (IA) who had team and family members tour Italy.

2018 continued the USA-AFW ELITE TEAM vs. Italy rivalry with the Italian team playing a very strong competitive game. Progress in American football was clearly being achieved in Italy. A second USA-AFW ELITE TEAM played in Ireland against their national 20U team for a second consecutive year. The college tour schedule saw CWRU return to Europe with a tour to northern Italy then most days spent in beautiful Switzerland including Interlaken, Lucerne, Bern and Zurich. The University of Dubuque continued their international education commitment with a trip to Ireland.

2019 the USA-AFW ELITE TEAM traveled to Italy for the 5th consecutive year as this tour destination and host-opponent make for a remarkable experience. Augustana College toured and played in Ireland while Macalester College toured for the first time with the destination of Italy.

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus Pandemic cancelled a fantastic 2020 tour season. At the 19U/HS level not only was the AFW ELITE vs. Italy game cancelled, but the ‘history making’ first game ever between the USA and Spain’s national 19U team and a phenomenal tour to Barcelona and Madrid had to be cancelled. A tremendous college tour season (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (Germany-Austria, Hanover College – Italy, OWU – Spain and W&J Italy) also had to be cancelled/postponed.

2022 – AFW very much looks forward to serving the ambitious athletic and adventure dreams of young men and their family members beginning again in the spring of 2022.



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