DES MOINES- The Drake University football team is headed to China for a May 2018 game, the university announced Wednesday.
The Bulldogs traveled to Tanzania in 2011 for the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, the first intercollegiate game of American football on African soil.
“Drake University is privileged to maintain meaningful partnerships in China, the world’s most populous nation and one of the most influential economic and political players on the global stage,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “Our student-athletes will develop as athletes, individuals, and global citizens through their experiences in China, and will strengthen the University’s partnerships in that country through a commitment to ethics and integrity both on and off the playing field.”
Drake is collaborating with contacts in China to organize a public celebration of American football, including youth football clinics. Drake’s student-athletes will be introduced to the complex interplay of culture, history, economics, and politics that is shaping China’s role as a global actor in business and international organizations prior and during the seminar. The team will engage in various cultural activities, such as a visit to the Great Wall of China.
“Drake Athletics strives for nothing less than to be a national Division I model of excellence in the integration of athletic success and academic performance,” said Megan Franklin, Drake University’s interim director of athletics. “While preparing students who know how to win, we also ensure that intercollegiate athletics is a significant, co-curricular element of those students’ learning experiences while at Drake. We are thrilled that our football team will again experience the global service and leadership development opportunities afforded to them by international travel.”
Drake’s connections to China include partnerships with four different Chinese universities as well as Drake's Teach in China program, in addition to Iowa's "sister state" with Hebei Province and presence of former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad who is serving as current U.S. Ambassador to China.
“Drake football is excited to travel to China next year and interact with the people of that great country through the sport of American football,” said Drake Head Football Coach Rick Fox. “This will be a trip that will have lifelong impact on our young men and we hope it will be a benefit to the people of China as well.”
Global Football, the world’s largest exporter of American football since 1996, will partner with Drake again for the China trip, providing travel and logistics. For the 2018 trip, they will collaborate with two organizations—the American Football League of China, an adult club league with teams across major Chinese cities; and the American Football Academy, a youth football organization focusing on teaching children ages 6 to 14 the basics of the sport—to organize the football component of the visit.
“Over the past decade, the sport has caught hold in a number of cities in China,” said Global Football Founder and President Patrick Steenberge. “The Drake Bulldogs football team will have an amazing opportunity to further the development of the sport among youth and young adults in China, just as they did in Tanzania.”
Friends and family members who are interested in traveling with the football team can find travel package details at anthonytravel.com/drake-china-tour.
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