USA Football announces coaches to lead 2024 U20 National Team at IFAF World Championship

Eight coaches selected to lead USA’s U20 Tackle National Team in gold medal pursuit

 INDIANAPOLIS – USA Football, a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the sport’s governing body responsible for organizing and selecting the U.S. National Teams, has announced the eight-man coaching staff for the U20 U.S. Tackle National Team. The team will compete in the International Federation of American Football’s (IFAF) World Junior Championship from June 20-30 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

“We have assembled a staff with more than 150 years of combined coaching experience,” said U20 U.S. Tackle National Team General Manager Shawn Liotta. “These coaches have succeeded at the high school, collegiate and professional levels and are prepared to develop and lead the talented athletes who will represent the United States at the IFAF World Junior Championship in June. This is a great opportunity for football players to get a taste of international competition while learning from coaches who have seen it all.”

Long-time Canadian Football League (CFL) coach Mike Kelly, who also has collegiate and NFL experience, is the head coach for the U.S. National Team. Myron Blueford, who has won several awards as a coach in Arizona, will serve as defensive coordinator, while Manny Matsakis, who has multiple college stops and a CFL stint during his career, fills the role of offensive coordinator. The full staff has more than 15 decades of combined coaching experience.

This year’s IFAF World Junior Championship will feature seven of the most competitive nations from around the world, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Panama and the United States. This will be IFAF’s sixth edition of the World Junior Championship. The U.S. National Team has made four of the five previous gold medal matches, defeating Canada in the finals in 2009 and 2014. The U.S. finished third in the most recent junior championship in Mexico City in 2018.

USA Football’s U.S. National Team has produced several notable alumni with significant achievements at the collegiate and professional levels, including current or former NFL All-Pros Trevon Diggs, Tyrann Mathieu, Jordan Poyer, Jonathan Taylor and Wyatt Teller. Fifteen former members of the U.S. National Team program have gone on to be first round picks in the NFL Draft, including quarterbacks Mac Jones and Kenny Pickett.

Several U.S. National Team alumni, including North Carolina State’s Shyheim Battle, Kansas State’s Cooper Beebe, Georgia’s Kendall Milton and Auburn’s Jaylin Simpson, declared for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Below is the full U.S. National Team coaching staff:

 Mike Kelly, Head Coach

Kelly played quarterback for Bluffton College in Ohio from 1976-79, finishing his collegiate career in the top five in program history for completions and passing yards. In 2002, he was inducted into the Bluffton College Hall of Fame.

After his playing days ended, Kelly earned a master’s degree in education while serving as a receivers coach at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1983. The Fighting Scots won the Western Pennsylvania Athletic Conference Championship that year with a 9-2 record.

Kelly called the offense for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League (CFL) between 1992 and 1996. During that time, the Blue Bombers won three regular season division titles and appeared in the Grey Cup twice while setting 29 club records. He coached college football and worked in the NFL for several years before returning to the CFL in 2008 as a receivers coach for the Edmonton Eskimos. In 2009, Kelly was the head coach and general manager of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“It is an honor to represent my country competing in my adopted country,” Kelly said, reflecting on the opportunity to coach the U20 U.S. Tackle National Team in Canada.

Kelly took on the head coaching role at Valdosta State University in Georgia from 1997 to 1999, coaching 23 All-Conference players and two All-Americans. Kelly coached in the XFL in 2000, working as the offensive coordinator for the 8-2 Eastern Division champion Orlando Rage. Louisville head coach Jeff Brohm was his quarterback during the season and earned First Team All-XFL honors.

In the NFL, Kelly spent five years in the 2000s working in pro personnel for Washington and Philadelphia, where he also served as an offensive assistant and quality control coach.

Returning to the college ranks, Kelly was the head coach of Widener University in Chester, Pa. from 2014 to 2018. During his five seasons with the program, Kelly earned Middle Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year, Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III South Co-Coach of the Year and East Coast Football Officials Association Coach of the Year honors.

Kelly currently works as a Senior Recruiting Specialist for NCSA College Recruiting, which is part of IMG Academy.

Manny Matsakis, Offensive Coordinator & Wide Receivers Coach

Matsakis was a four-year letter winner and three-time First Team All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection as a kicker for Capital University in Columbus, Ohio from 1980-83. In 1982, he was a First Team All-American. The Philadelphia Eagles selected him in the 1984 NFL Draft with the 200th overall pick.

Matsakis has held several head coaching roles in college football, including for Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas (1995-98), Texas State in San Marcos, Texas (2003), Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan. (2013-14) and Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio (2018-21).

Stops as an assistant coach and coordinator broke up Matsakis’ head coaching roles. He was an assistant at Kansas State for Wildcats legendary head coach Bill Snyder from 1989-90. Matsakis returned to Kansas State in 1994 as a tight end and special teams coach following several seasons spent as the offensive coordinator at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

Matsakis was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Wyoming in 1999 and an assistant head coach and special teams coordinator at Texas Tech under head coach Mike Leach from 2000-02. He also made stops as the offensive coordinator at Capital University, running backs coach and offensive coordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL and offensive coordinator at Widener University.

Matsakis also has experience at the high school level, coaching Enka High School in Candler, N.C. from 2010-12.

Off the gridiron, Matsakis founded American Football Monthly, an international magazine dedicated to the football coaching profession.

Myron Blueford, Defensive Coordinator & Defensive Line Coach

Blueford played football at Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix. He earned First Team All-Region and First Team All-State honors as a defensive lineman before taking his talents to nearby Phoenix College. Coaching wasn’t immediately on Blueford’s radar after his playing days ended, but he got hooked while stepping up to help a friend.

“I started coaching football as a favor to a friend,” Blueford said. “I was coaching a 10U team and instantly fell in love with the influence I had in developing young players and the responsibility of doing it the right way. It gave me purpose, and from that point I wanted nothing more than to be a coach for the rest of my life.”

Blueford’s coaching career includes stints as the defensive line coach at Arizona Lutheran Academy, defensive coordinator at Moon Valley High School, co-defensive coordinator and recruiter at Phoenix College and a seven-year run as head coach at Arizona College Prep High School in Chandler, Ariz.

Blueford’s resume features several significant awards, including the City of Chandler Legendary Coach Award, 2019 Coach of the Year, Small School Coach of the Year, Chandler Unified Coach of the Year and two Metro East Coach of the Year awards.

Blueford recently started a new role as the middle school athletic director and varsity defensive & recruiting coordinator at American Leadership Academy, Ironwood in Queen Creek, Ariz.

Coaching with the U20 U.S. Tackle National Team is not Blueford’s first opportunity to represent his country on an international stage. He championed the red, white and blue as a member of USA Football’s U18 Select Team coaching staff at the 2019 International Bowl and served in the Army.

“I am an Army veteran, so I have an affinity towards anything that represents the United States of America,” Blueford said. “When you combine the fact that I am coaching the game that I love and representing our nation, there isn’t a better honor. To be able to represent my nation, my family and ALA-Ironwood on a stage like this is something I will cherish forever!”

William Lund, Special Teams Coordinator & Linebackers Coach

Lund has worked with USA Football’s U.S. National Team program for several years. He was part of the coaching staffs for the U18 Select Team in 2018, U17 Select Team in 2019 and U16 Select Team in 2020 that participated in USA Football’s International Bowl, and he has helped run USA Football camps since 2016.

Lund was an All-Conference linebacker in high school who developed into an All-Conference lineman at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., where he was named the Ralph V. Landis Award winner for his outstanding contributions to Lawrence athletics.

“Like any kid I wanted to play pro football, but athletically it was not to be,” Lund said. “Mentally, I still could live that dream as a coach. That’s what got me started in coaching, but my focus shifted to being able to mentor and develop all the student athletes I encounter to be the best versions of themselves in any endeavor they chose whether its football or their professional lives. I want to provide a transformational experience that they can share with others.”

Lund recently accepted a position as the defensive coordinator at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., bringing more than 28 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level to his new role. He began coaching with Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H. in 1997 as a video coordinator, linebackers coach and special teams coordinator.

Lund’s next stops included Colby College in Waterville, Maine, Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y., and St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis. During that time, he held several titles and roles, including defensive assistant, defensive coordinator, defensive line coach, linebackers coach and special teams coordinator. Lund won the NESCAC championship with Colby in 2000, the MAC championship with Buffalo in 2008 and the MWC championship with St. Norbert in 2010.

In 2011, Lund joined the staff at Columbia University in N.Y. and spent the remainder of the 2010s working at North Park University in Chicago, Ill., Hope College in Holland, Mich., Saginaw Valley State University in University Center, Mich., Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Ill. and Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. Some of the titles he held during that time included defensive coordinator, linebackers coach, wide receivers coach, assistant special teams coach and special teams coordinator.

Lund’s most recent position before accepting his current role with Nichols College came with Roosevelt University in Chicago. He served as the assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and defensive line coach across his several seasons with the program.

PeeJay Jack, Quarterbacks Coach

Jack played football at University High School in Orlando before continuing his career as a quarterback and wide receiver at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. After college, he spent eight seasons playing quarterback in the Arena Football League (AFL) and even traveled overseas to play for the Elancourt Templiers in France.

From 2015-17, Jack was a youth developmental football coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He gained more exposure to the NFL in 2022 as a member of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship program. Jack spent the entirety of training camp that year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also gained experience coaching in the AFL as the offensive coordinator for the Orlando Predators in 2019.

Jack has extensive experience coaching at the high school level. He was the quarterbacks coach at Titusville High School in Titusville, Fla. in 2017 and recently rejoined the program as its new offensive coordinator. In between his stints with Titusville, Jack served as the quarterback coach at Sanford Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla. and the offensive coordinator at Cocoa Beach Junior/Senior High School in Cocoa Beach, Fla. and Space Coast Junior/Senior High in Cocoa, Fla.

“I’ve had a passion for coaching the game for as long as I can remember,” Jack said. “Even when I was playing, I loved coaching up my teammates or younger people. I always wanted to become the type of coach that I wish I had when I was playing.”

Outside of the high school space, Jack works as a quarterbacks coach for Elite11. He’s also stepped in as a quarterbacks coach for the FBS Tropical Bowl and FCS Bowl.

Jack represents the red, white and blue on and off the football field. He’s a staff sergeant in the Florida Air National Guard and an aerospace engineering technician for the United Launch Alliance. In 2019, he received the Airman’s Medal for his bravery. The medal represents one of the greatest honors a member of the Air Force can receive.

Jack’s background in the military with the 290th Joint Communications Support Squadron (JCSS) out of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa brings new meaning to the opportunity to represent the U.S. as a coach on the U20 U.S. Tackle National Team.

“It means the world to me,” Jack said. “I know that sounds cliche, but it really does. I’ve always wanted to represent the United States in sports. I would watch the Olympics and tell myself that one day I’d be there. Also serving in the military, this brings an added bonus for me. I can’t stop thinking about this opportunity. Being a coach on this team makes me feel that I’ve earned the right to be one of the chosen few that the United States of America can count on to rightfully represent them in a way they can all be proud of.”

Randy Walters, Running Backs Coach

Walters was born in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada. After high school, he played quarterback for the Hamilton Hurricanes, losing to the Regina Rams in the 1980 National Championship Game. He went on to the University of Guelph, winning the National Championship in 1984. After his playing days ended, he transitioned to coaching, first at the University of Guelph, followed by Edinboro and Gannon Universities in Western Pa.

Walters’ high school experience includes more than a dozen stops in the Keystone State, including stints as the head coach at Bentworth, McGuffey and Valley High School. He was also an assistant at Hempfield High School in Westmoreland County, Pa., where he coached his two of his sons, Daniel and Connor.

In 2020, Walters was named head coach at Leechburg High School. He took over a program that had not seen a winning season or playoff berth in 32 years. In his second season at the helm, the Blue Devils made it to the second round of the W.P.I.A.L. playoffs, while earning the first ever playoff victory at their home venue, Veterans Memorial Field.

Since becoming head coach at Leechburg, Walters has guided the Blue Devils to three consecutive winning seasons and three playoff appearances, marking the first streak of its kind in program history.

Jim Phillips, Offensive Line Coach

Phillips played football at Jayton High School in Jayton, Texas before taking his talents to Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, where he lettered three times as a defensive tackle and once as an offensive tackle. Phillips earned Second Team All-Lone Star Conference honors during his senior season along the offensive line.

After college, Phillips signed with the Houston Oilers as an undrafted free agent and eventually played with the British Columbia Lions in Canada. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant and later accepted an offensive coaching role at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Okla.

Phillips accepted his first head coaching position with Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Okla. in 1984. His team ranked first in total defense in NAIA Division II in 1986 and third in 1987.

After his time in the college ranks, Phillips worked as an offensive line coach at Westfield High School in Houston for legendary coach Emory Bellard from 1987-89. In 1991, Phillips accepted the head coaching position at Waller (Texas) High School. He led Waller from 1991-2007, taking the program to 17 consecutive playoff appearances. He was the District 18-4A Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004.

In 2008, Phillips took over a struggling Greenville (Texas) High School program and led the team to its first winning season in six years. After two years with Greenville, Phillips became the head coach of J. Frank Dobie High School in Houston. He led Dobie to a district championship and five playoff seasons.

After retiring from coaching and serving as Waller ISD’s Athletic Director, Phillips unretired in 2021 to become the head coach at Rosehill Christian School in Tomball, Texas.

Additionally, Phillips has experience coaching offensive linemen in the Fan Controlled Football League.

Michael Patterson, Defensive Backs Coach

Patterson has worked closely with USA Football for years as a Master Trainer in charge of certifying coaches and helping run USA Football camps, such as regional events for the U.S. National Team. He was a member of former U.S. National Team head coach Aaron Ingram’s staff during the 2018 IFAF U-19 World Championship, which later became the IFAF World Junior Championship. Patterson also assisted the U.S. National Team with five separate International Bowls.

Patterson also serves as the assistant defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Brophy College Preparatory, where he’s coached since 2015. He has also coached defensive backs and defensive linemen for Brophy.

Patterson’s playing days trace back to Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. before he attended college in Mexico, where he played college football as a defensive back for Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education at the Campus of Laguna and Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL).

Patterson is the director and founder of American Football Association of the State of Coahuila (AFAEC). Through AFAEC, Patterson has helped programs receive equipment donations, access better fields and open the doors for kids and women to play.

Patterson played an active role in girls’ flag football being sanctioned as a high school sport in Arizona and is the current girls’ flag football head coach at Xavier College Preparatory. He currently sits on USA Football’s Girls’ Football Advisory Council to help assist and guide USA Football’s evolving resources and objectives.


About USA FootballUSA Football is the governing body of American football in the United States, the sole US member of the International Federation of American Football, and a recognized sports organization of the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Its non-profit mission includes designing and delivering premier educational, development, and competitive programs for American football, including tackle and flag football. USA Football is the only organization that selects and organizes men’s and women’s US National Teams in federation-sanctioned international competition.