The 13 nation Europe Warriors take the field Saturday August 12 at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario on the UNAM campus in Mexico City to face the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Pumas CU in an historic match to commemorate the Pumas 90th year of American football.
A crowd of 20,000 is expected to be on hand at the Olympic stadium to watch.
With players representing 13 different countries and 32 teams from Europe, the Warriors are unique. Never has a team from all over Europe been assembled to play against a Mexican college team before.
Head coach Jesus Sanchez has done an outstanding job putting together a team including all 42 players and a coaching staff in the space of just a few months.
With a week of practice behind them in Mexico City, the Warriors lineup can be formidable for the Pumas.
According to Bart Iaccarino, Europe Warriors athletic director, speed will be one of the strengths of the Warriors. He pointed to starting quarterback Connor Reilly (Temple Owls), who played for the Rouen Leopards in France this past season and led the league in passing yardage. His back up is Jonathan Dally (Cal Poly Mustangs) who played for the Milano Seamen until this season.
Sanchez has selected running back Irving Amilla who played for him in Spain with Madrid’s Osos Rivas. Wide receivers Darnell Smith (North Texas, Reus Imperials, Spain) and Preston Bailey (Lubeck Cougars, Germany) will give the Pumas plenty to worry about.The defense will be led by Badalona Dracs (Spanish champions) starting middle linebacker Alex Posito.
Iaccarino explained the difference in football development between Europe and North America:
“The majority of football in Europe is developed at the level of the clubs, in a structure similar to the one that exists in soccer. We do not have a university structure like the one in North America or Japan. Coming to Mexico and seeing players who are already playing football since the age of five or six, is something impressive for us.”
The last time a European team faced a team in Mexico was in 1996 when a team from Palermo, Italy took on the Mexican national team. At the time, Palermo was at the bottom of the Italian league and were soundly defeated 63-8.
This will be an entirely different team facing Mexico’s ONEFA 2016 finalists.
In the inaugural International Bowl in 2016, the Pumas lost to Japan’s Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters,17-13.