Ninety-one (91) of the nation’s best middle school football players have been selected to the U.S. Under-14 Select Teams, which will compete in the 2016 International Bowl on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas. Kickoff between the Under-14 Stars and Under-14 Stripes is 1 p.m. CT.
Zack Bratcher, a 7th-grader at GCMS, will be representing Grayson County as a linebacker. Zack is the son of Josh and Brandy Bratcher and big brother to Hayden, all of Leitchfield.
He will participate in USA Football’s International Bowl Series. His week there will be similar to the life of a college football player including team meetings, practices, and study hall. The week concludes with the International Bowl Game at AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys). Zack will be playing for the Team Stars. The game will be aired on ESPN 3 Feb 3 at 1 PM CST.
In all, four middle school-aged U.S. Select Teams will compete against each other in the seventh annual International Bowl series. Four U.S. National Teams and two high school Select Teams also will compete against teams from Canada as part of the series.
All U.S. National Teams are assembled and managed by USA Football, which is recognized as the sport’s national governing body by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The U.S. Under-14 Select Team Stars are coached by Joe Irelan, an assistant coach at the University of San Diego. Irelan has worked with receivers, defensive backs and special teams in two years with the Toreros. A former college wide receiver, he’s also coached at Ohio State and has been a U.S. National Team assistant for two years.
The head coach of the Under-14 Stripes is Joe Dale Cary, the head coach at Crandall (Texas) High School. After going 2-8 in his first season, the Pirates had a significant turnaround in 2015, finishing 6-5. Cary, who previously served as an offensive line coach at Port Neches-Groves (Texas) High School, is a longtime U.S. National Team coach.
“This is an exciting opportunity for these young men to represent their country on the field and learn from top coaches while working alongside the best athletes in their grade levels,” USA Football CEO Scott Halleneck said. “To play inside the same stadium as the Dallas Cowboys will make this a memorable experience for our coaches, athletes and their families.”