AFI’s Top 4 International College/HS Players of the Week; from Spain, Austria, Norway and Finland

In an attempt to bring more attention to the growing numbers of talented athletes from around the world who are taking their games abroad, AFI will name their weekly International Players of the Week, for high school and college football, throughout the 2017 season.

Criteria: For 2017, we are searching for football players from, or citizens of countries outside of the the 50 United States, and Canada, who are playing football in the 50 United States or Canada.

How the AFI community can help: If you fit the criteria, or know someone who does, please pass on the name of the athlete, home country and current school. If you are a high school or college coach or SID, please keep send AFI statistical updates on your international students each week.

American Football International Players of the Week: October 2-8, 2017

October’s first Player of the Week class took us from Europe, to África, and Down Under.



Zaragoza, Spain’s finest, JJ Arcega-Whiteside showed up with six catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Stanford Cardinal in receiving in their 49-7 rout of Oregon.

Spain’s JJ Arcega-Whiteside making TD catch against Oregon Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images


Meanwhile, Arcega-Whiteside’s Austrian teammate, defensive tackle, Thomas Schaffer, made his introduction to college football noteworthy, by combining his first career tackle (according to with his first sack of the season (according to ESPN statistics).

Welcome to college football! Austria’s Thomas Schaffer, a sophomore DT at Stanford, notched his first career sack against Oregon.

Special Teams

As is explained in the intro, this weekly feature is ‘’an attempt to bring more attention to the growing numbers of talented athletes from around the world who are taking their games abroad,’’ and, in that vein, we at AFI aim to find new athletes to feature each week, but, new rule (as of now): If you have a 92 yard punt, you are automatically the AFI Special Teams Player of the Week. So, please, click the ‘’play’’ icon below, sit back, and watch Marshall punter, Kaare Vedvik, in all of his Norwegian glory (big shout to his hometown of Stavanger), launch a football off his foot for 92 yards (7th longest in FBS history). Goodness.

High School

The multi-sport ‘’Battle for the Border’’ between Georgia’s Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School and North Carolina’s Asheville School came down to the days last event, a football matchup between the two schools, and Rabun Gap’s Onni Soininen came up huge. The linebacker from Finland notched 13 tackles (11 solo) to lead his Eagles to a 10-7 victory in the football game, and also the Battle for the Border Cup.

Finland’s Onni Soinninen #24 contributed 13 tackles to help send the Battle for the Border Cup to Rabun Gap.

Who did we miss? Who do you know with a Player of the Week-worthy performance? Contact AFI to let us know the international athletes making a big impact on high school and college fields in North América.

Clayton Lovett has served football in Brasil in a variety of roles, including as the member of the coaching staff of two CBFA national champions (Cuiaba Arsenal 2010, 2012). Football is his hobby. Professionally, he is the founder of CS Educacional,