All Star cast of American Football coaches visit Ecuador

This past weekend, the FFAE (Federation of American Football of Ecuador) played host to seven highly talented and experienced college and high school coaches from the FCA (Fellow Christian Athletes) and 3D Coaching who put on an in-depth American Football camp.

The three-day clinic and camp was held in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and attracted over 100 players from around the country along with more than 20 Ecuadorian coaches.

The cast of coaches included Rod Shafer, Drew Engels, Paul Wilson, Mark Wilson, Mario Beneto, Bob Urwin and John Gladden.

Rod Shafer brought with him from Florida over 40 years of coaching experience and multiple championship rings from the high school and collegiate level specifically focusing on the QB’s at the camp. Drew Engels, currently the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Southeastern University took charge of the offensive line at practice. Paul Wilson, won a national championship as a wideout alongside Tim Tebow at the University of Florida and coached the wide receivers. Bob Urwin, with multiple years as a defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in Texas, worked on defensive line techniques during the three days. Mario Beneto, a native Brazilian who coached in Mexico before coaching at Southeastern University took over as the RB’s coach all weekend. Mark Wilson, who played for the University of Georgia, coached the defensive backs. Lastly, John Gladden, a former linebacker at Valdosta State University, worked with the linebackers.

Mark Wilson, director of the FCA in Central Florida explained the background to the camp:

“The way that the FCA is setup is that each region has a country assigned to it with the purpose of helping develop their coaches and players in all sports. We were assigned the country of Ecuador and were able to come down here with a great group of coaches to help out with growing the sport of American Football.”

FFAE President, Fausto Ramirez:

“Well, it all happened after Lobos de Quito’s defensive coordinator Miguelangel Cunalata got in contact with the FCA in January through a 3D coaches’ clinic. Once the contact was made this camp got put together in under 3 months.”

Coach Cunalata:

“Well, in January. 2019 I attended a clinic for 3D coaching originally created by Doctor Duke in Florida. I then followed up with my FCA contact from the clinic and asked them to give a camp on American Football which they gladly accepted. What stood out to me about the group of coaches the FCA sent down is all the experience they have combined together. These coaches have won championships in the NCAA and in the SEC as both players and coaches. We were very lucky to have them come down through FCA.”

Before arriving, many of the coaches had not realized that American Football was being played in Ecuador. In fact, for some this was the first time they had traveled outside of the United States.

Offensive line coach Drew Engels was asked to describe his first impressions of American Football in Ecuador:

“I was really excited seeing the passion that the players and coaches have for the game out here in Ecuador. Last night guys were here in the park with dim lights, and not so great field conditions but still loved every minute of practice. I love seeing that passion for the sport of American Football and you can tell American Football is going to be expanding here in the future.”

Linebacker Coach John Gladden also was very impressed by the Ecuadorian American Football players who showed up to camp saying:

“I love it! I love seeing the excitement, energy and passion for the love of the game of American Football. With those ingredients you can teach X’s and O’s without a problem. These guys are like sponges and they have what you can’t teach which is heart. It has been very refreshing coming down here to coach which is a true blessing and very encouraging for the sports development in the country.”

At the end of Saturday’s 2-a-day formatted practice, all of the coaches were hugged and praised by the players.  Gifts were given, and some players cried at the end of the practice after being so touched by the camp. As almost all the players were limping off the field in exhaustion, not one player stood without a smile on their face for appreciation of what historic moment they had just been part of in Ecuador. Indeed, it was the first time in the history of Ecuador, an American football camp of this caliber had been held by American coaches.

Head Coach Rod Shafer summed it up best at the end of the day:

“You know my wife recently mentioned how she is worried about retirement, and after coming down here it’s like; if these guys can survive down here, with an average salary of $300 a month, and have a smile on their face, and be some of the nicest people I have ever met…you know what, I don’t think I want to hear another word of worry about retirement, surely everything will be just fine.”





Owen Krebs-Grimsich was born in Oakland, California and grew up in Berkeley, California. He is a Math Teacher at Academia Cotopaxi in Quito, Ecuador and the Head Football Coach of the Lobos De Quito.