Overview of the 2016 Under-19 World Championship in Harbin, China

The U.S. Under-19 National Team is headed to China and the 2016 International Federation of American Football Under-19 World Championship.

The goal? Capturing the gold medal.

The fourth IFAF Under-19 World Championship runs June 29 to July 10. The United States team practiced at Kean University in Union, N.J. before flying to China on June 24.

What exactly is the World Championship?

Here’s a breakdown to get you up to speed about this summer’s huge international competition.

What is the World Championship?

The IFAF Under 19 World Championship is an international football championship tournament that awards gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three finishers from countries around the globe.

And it’s taking place in China this year?

Yes. Harbin, China, will host the event. Harbin is a city in the country’s northeastern region with a population of nearly 11 million.

Who runs the World Championship?

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) oversees and governs the tournament. IFAF is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the official international governing body of the sport. More than 70 countries are IFAF members and have official national governing bodies dedicated to the sport. The World Championship is run on the ground by a local tournament organizing committee that arranges for facilities, lodging, transportation, food and medical necessities.

So it’s part of the Olympics?

No, the World Championship is not an Olympic event, but it is the world’s largest international football competition.

Is it an annual event?

The World Championship now occurs every two years. Previous tournaments were 2009 in Canton, Ohio; 2012 in Austin, Texas; and 2014 in Kuwait City, Kuwait. The 2018 host has yet to be decided.

If it’s an American football event, the United States must win every year, right?

Not exactly. The U.S. took home the gold medal in 2009 and 2014 but in 2012 lost in the gold medal game to Canada.

How old are the players?

All tournament participants must be 19 years old or younger on the day of the first game. For the U.S. team, players range from rising seniors in high school to rising sophomores in college.

Who picks the roster for the American team?

As the national governing body of the sport in the United States and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Football selects and manages all U.S. National Teams. USA Football has a committee of staff members – many of whom are former college coaches – dedicated to player selection.

Do top players participate?

Absolutely. Recent Pittsburgh Steelers draft pick Demarcus Ayers participated in 2012. The 2014 team featured Notre Dame running back Tarean Folston, and Florida State receiver Jesus Wilson among others. The 2009 team included QB Bryce Petty (New York Jets), RB David Wilson (New York Giants), DB Jordan Poyer (Cleveland Browns), OL Brian Winters (New York Jets) and DB Shamarko Thomas (Pittsburgh Steelers)

What about this year’s team?

The 2016 United States team will feature the likes of future University of Virginia quarterback Lindell Stone and Scout three-star receiver Eddie Lewis on offense. Former MaxPreps All-American Jaquan Yulee, a Marshall signee, and Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) defensive end Mykelle McDaniel, a rising senior with multiple SEC offers, lead the defense.

Who will the U.S. be playing?

Participating countries include China, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Australia and Austria.

Where can I watch?

A live stream for all games is being planned. USAFootball.com will have coverage throughout the event.

Source: Overview of the 2016 World Championship in Harbin, China

Story by Stephen Spiewak, USA Football USA Football - Steven Spiewak