The dream: Team Colombia holding tryouts

The Colombian American Football Federation (FECOFA) has announced it will be holding tryouts throughout the fall and early 2018 to select players for the first ever Colombian national team.

American football has been played in Colombia for the past decade but this is the first time the federation has taken the step of forming a Team Colombia.

Head coach Renzo Devia:

“American football is growing very fast in our country. It is the right moment to start this project, which was born with the aim of unifying us. We try to leave the differences aside so we can show the world that we can compete against other countries.”

The game has undergone constant growth in this South American country and there are now 10 club teams with hundreds of players registered.

Team Colombia head coach Renzo Devia

“The union is the force” is the motto that the FECOFA and Coach Devia have chosen as the flag of a project that kick off later this year. In fact, the coach will launch a national tryout tour in October, looking at the players who have been picked by the head coaches of each of the club teams. The aim of the tour is to start putting together a roster, which will consist of a total of 40 players, between the ages of 18 and 40.

“It is very possible that we are not quite ready in terms of football but we have heart. Young people in Colombia have a lot of heart, as do women who play flag. When you have that love, you can win.”

Just as the call is open to finding the best players in Colombia, the call also includes coaches who want to be part of the staff that helps Devia select a national team. It is expected that coaches will be found for coordinators positions plus each position.

All that is known about the coaching philosophy is that the offense will be the double wing.

Regarding the roster, the complete list of players (40) is expected to be completed by March 2018, the month in which they will begin the national team’s training. Ideally, the 40 players, are currently practicing the sport actively. Of these, 34 will play rotating different positions in the field of play and the other six players would be substitutes, in case of an injury.

When asked about the way he sees the Team Colombia initiative for the next few years, coach Devia describes development as a long process.

“The idea is to have the established team in a year and start playing exhibition games. I’d like to bring teams from the United States or Mexico, but we’ll look. Then, in a second year, we want to start talking to the IFAF (International Football Federation) to compete with countries like Chile, Argentina or Brazil. Then, to go up throughout America, in order to measure us against American selections in three or four years.”

The only time a Colombian team has played an international game was when the Medellin Hunters faced a Mexican team of over 40, the Venados de Cuernavaca.

 

Requirements for players who wish to be part of the selection process:

  • Colombian nationality.
  • Between 18 and 40 years of age.
  • Have played for at least two (2) years with a team registered at FECOFA and the National Tournament.
  • Must be an active player.
  • Should be healthy (in case of injury, inform what type in order to look for a possible treatment).
  • Must be disciplined and selected by the head coach of the team in which he plays.
  • Not having plans to travel soon to be able to link in the development of the project.
  • Have physical conditions and body size.
  • Talent.
  • Knowledge of the game (history of the sport, plays and rules).
  • Responsibility.
  • Heart

The roster will consist of 40 players, who will be selected among the ten teams that are officially registered in the Federation. For the selection process, the head coach Renzo Devia will make a depth chart, which consists of a format that shows the location of the titular players and the substitutes.

Each position has an alternate. There are 34 active players who are rotating during the game (for example, a player can be part of the special teams or the defensive line) and six players in reserve, who will be ready to enter at any time, in case of injury.

This roster will feature two quarterbacks. The purpose of the different tryouts that take place between October of this year and the first months of 2018 will be to select the best two  athletes in their respective positions.

Players participating in the tryouts will be pre-selected by their personal head coaches. Coach Devia will analyze his game and the technical staff of the Selection will support him, choosing the most outstanding to fight for a place in the national team.

 

Rachid Sabag Serrato
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