USA Football Selects Three-Time National Champion to Lead Team USA in Eight-Nation Tournament
USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, has named CHUCK KYLE of Cleveland's St. Ignatius High School the head coach of the United States' first junior national team in football. USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK made the announcement at Saint Ignatius today.
Team USA will compete among a field of eight countries from four continents in the 2009 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Junior World Championship. The tournament, which will be held every four years in one of 52 IFAF-member countries, will take place June 27-July 5, 2009, in Canton, Ohio's Fawcett Stadium, adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Team USA will comprise top student-athletes entering their college freshman year in fall 2009.
"I may teach English, but I appreciate history," said Kyle, an English teacher who three times guided his St. Ignatius Wildcats to "National Championship" honors (USA Today 1989, '93; National Prep Poll 1993, '95). Under his leadership, St. Ignatius has earned nine of Ohio's past 20 Division I (large school) football state championships. "This is an historic, pioneering team, and I am excited to be a part of it. I'm proud to represent the United States," he said. "I've quickly learned how strong football is beyond our borders. We have a challenge ahead of us, and I look forward to getting our team ready to play in Canton next summer."
Kyle, 57, became his high school alma mater's head coach in 1983. He owns a 248-56-1 (.816) record and a state playoff mark of 49-11 (.817). St. Ignatius's nine Division I state titles under Kyle represent the most of any Ohio school since the employment of the state's playoff format in 1972. The Wildcats have advanced to Ohio's state playoffs in each of the past 20 seasons -- the longest active streak in the football-rich state.
"Chuck Kyle personifies everything we were looking for in Team USA's head coach," said Hallenbeck. "Beyond his remarkable record and litany of accolades, he is a teacher in the classroom and on the field. For 25 years and running, his program melds class with excellence. Speaking as a football fan, it will be exciting to watch Coach and his staff lead our country's top high school-aged players against the world's best national teams."
All 50 state high school athletic associations and the District of Columbia are invited to nominate at least 10 players to compose a talent pool from which Team USA's coaching staff will select its roster in spring 2009. Coach Kyle will select Team USA's coaching staff prior to the kickoff of the 2008 high school football season.
Canada joins the United States as an automatic qualifier for the 2009 IFAF Junior World Championship. The U.S. earns an automatic bid as the tournament's host. Canada earns a place in the field due to the long-time strength of its junior national team program in international play. The Canadian team will hold the No. 1 seed once all eight qualifiers are finalized and placed in the tournament bracket. The United States will be seeded No. 2.