The 2012 football season gets underway this month and 10 Hudl teams from the United States and Canada are set for unique season openers: they will travel overseas for the Global Ireland Football Tournament (G.I.F.T) on Friday, Aug. 31. The events will get kicked off on Friday and will include a six-game showcase featuring 12 teams. The Emerald Isle Classic will be held the next day and will feature Hudl Team Navy matching up against Notre Dame.
The games will take place at three venues across Dublin and Navan normally utilized for Gaelic football, hurling and rugby.
Included in the showcase is Kent School (Conn.) and their 21st-year head coach Todd Marble, who will face National School of American Football from the UK. The Kent School Lions went undefeated during the 2011 regular season and played in New England’s Norm Walker Bowl. Their opponent in Ireland is comprised of top selected players from the UK under-19 ranks.
“It’s definitely different preparation this year,” Marble said of the overseas trip. “We are looking at it as more of an exhibition. We will play to win, but we have a little different strategy and the scouting has been different.”
Marble’s team departed from the United States on Tuesday 8/28 to take in some sightseeing and training leading up to Aug. 31.
“It will be a great experience for the kids,” Marble added. “It should be remarkable to do something most people haven’t done before. The kids will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Each of the six games in Friday’s games will include at least one Hudl participant, including four head-to-head match-ups. John Carroll University (Ohio) will be making its sixth trip to Europe in the past 18 years.
The event has been organized by Global Football. If you can’t make it to any of the games, you can watch all the games live online.
Global Ireland Football Tournament Games Schedule (Hudl teams in bold)
Friday, August 31
Donnybrook Stadium: Dublin
- 4 p.m. - Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.) vs. Jesuit Prep Dallas (Dallas, Texas)
- 7:30 p.m. - St. Norbert College (De Pere, Wis.) vs. John Carroll University (University Heights, Ohio)
Parnell Park: Dublin
- 4 p.m. - Kent School (Kent, Conn.) vs. National School of American Football (UK)
- 7:30 p.m. - Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oak, Calif.) vs. Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.)
Páirc Tailteann: Navan
- 4 p.m. - Villanova College (King City, ON) vs. Oak Park High School (Winnipeg, MB)
- 7:30 p.m. - Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.) vs. Father Judge (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Good luck to everyone!