Football down under
New Zeland native George O’Scanlon became such a fan of American football that he decided to start games in his new home, Australia. In 1989 he founded the International Sports Specalists, Inc. His purpose was to bring American Sports to Australia as exhibition tournaments. From the first year with teams representing only four states the program has grown and now players from all 50 states participate with teams from five American regions and teams from Australia and New Zeland.
O’Scanlon sends invitations to apply to participate to over one thousand graduating high school senior football players. The players send in applications for review and if they are selected, they will journey to Gold Coast, Australia for the summer tournament, the Down Under Bowl.
This year the tournament will be held from June 28 to July 6, 2015.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville player Trey Chandler has been accepted to be on the Central Conference team from the United States. He is a cornerback and wide receiver for the LCM Bears and earned a second place on the All District team for 4A-1 Region III, District 10 as cornerback and honorable mention as wide receiver. Chandler will be playing in the Lone Star Bowl all star game the week before the Down Under Bowl. The 18 year old has been playing football since he was five years old and has played on the LCM varsity for the last three years. He is the son of Joseph Chandler and Juanita Yellot and has 11 siblings.
Being accepted is the easy part of the process; the hard part is raising the money for the trip Down Under. The cost is estimated to be $6500 and the player is responsible for raising the total cost. The cost includes air fare to Brisbane, Australia, all room and board, insurance, and the player’s uniform. It is an excellent opportunity for a young athlete to have a unique experience to play in a foreign country and to meet other athletes from the United States.
“I would be grateful for any financial assistance I can get. If anyone would like to donate to the cost of my trip, they can do that by going to “downundersports.com” and clicking on “Make Payments”, they will then find the information they need to make a donation in my name”, said Chandler. “I would be honored to represent my country, my state and my school in the Down Under Bowl.”
In addition to the practice sessions and playing in two games, the players will also have the opportunity to travel around the area and experience the sights and culture of the Australian Gold Coast.