For the fourth time since 2007, the Ohio Northern University Polar Bears will be facing European opposition as they line up against the Roma Grizzlies this weekend in Rome, Italy. The team is capping a week-long tour of Greece and Italy arranged by Global Football.
The Polar Bears have previously visited Ireland in 2013, Italy in 2010 and Germany in 2007, all as part of the Global Football annual spring tours schedule. According to NCAA rules, Div. III colleges can travel every three years.
Under head coach Dean Paul, the team recorded a 9-3 overall record last season, reaching the second round of the NCAA III Playoffs and finished second in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Seven college teams playing in Europe in 2016
In 2016, Global Football is taking seven teams and colleges to Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Spain as travelers benefit from a positive educational experience and help spread the global appeal of American football.
“I enjoy every team and coach who travel with us, and often comment that the best part of my job is that I get to travel with such quality men and student athletes,” said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. “The truth is that only the ‘good guys’ choose to undertake this type of effort in order to have such a unique experience. Dean Paul and I have shared many laughs and wonders over the past decade, and I look forward to being with them soon on this trip.”
This isn’t the first time the Grizzlies have faced American college opposition as last year they hosted Central College from Iowa, losing 49-7.
Team visiting historic sites in Greece and Italy
The ONU European visit kicked off in Greece, where they spent two nights in Athens, visiting the Acropolis & Parthenon and enjoyed a guided tour of Delphi. An overnight Anek-Superfast Ferry Superfast II took the group from Patras to Bari, Italy, and they then went to Pompeii to see the famous lost city’s ruins, before visiting Naples. Once in Rome, the spectacular Vatican City, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica will be on the sightseeing agenda. The group returns home on Tuesday, May 17.
Dean Paul has an outstanding record
ONU head coach Dean Paul has energized the ONU football program since arriving in 2004, leading the Polar Bears to 84 victories and national rankings in 10 of his 12 seasons. In 17 seasons as a head football coach at the Division III level, Paul has posted a 124-52 record, a winning percentage of .705. He came to ONU after five highly successful seasons at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Ky.
“We’re really excited about our fourth visit overseas,” said Polar Bears head coach Dean Paul. “The first three trips to Ireland, Italy and Germany were life-changing experiences for many of our players and we know that everything Patrick Steenberge does is going to be first class.
“From a team standpoint, we know there are going to be great friendships established and team unity will really be advanced as we build up to next season. Getting a chance to practice over there, work on a few things and promote the game of football out there, and then game itself are some of the real highlights of the whole experience.”
Watch the game live here. Sunday May 15, 4 PM (10 AM EDT)
Global Football has an App
Travelers and followers of Global Football events are now able to download the Global Football App for iPhone and Android devices from the iTunes Store and Google Play. Developed by TouchBase, the App features information, news and itineraries related to the teams traveling overseas to multiple destinations with Global Football this spring.
About Global Football
Since 1996 Global Football has provided 14,000 amateur football players, coaches, families and fans from 350 schools the opportunity to travel and compete internationally with similar people of differing cultures. During that time they have produced games and tours in 23 countries on 6 continents, including the 2012 and 2014 GIFT events staged in Ireland alongside the NCAA college football games. Through these games, clinics and tours the people involved experience and learn about unique lands, fascinating people, and the sports environment in different parts of the world. Global Football has become the world’s largest exporter and producer of American football outside of the USA.
Contact Patrick Steenberge: Patrick@globalfootball.com