Joel Diaz Participates in the International Football Bowl

Joel+Diaz%2C+one+of+ACP%27s+juniors%2C+was+selected+to+play+for+the+U.S.+Under+18+team+in+the+International+Bowl.+Photo+courtesy+of+Joel+Diaz.

Joel Diaz, one of ACP's juniors, was selected to play for the U.S. Under 18 team in the International Bowl. Photo courtesy of Joel Diaz.

Last week junior football player Joel Diaz spent most of his time on the field in the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas playing in the International Bowl for the Under 18 U.S. National Team against Mexico.

The International Bowl consists of different football teams from around the world playing against the U.S. Various high school students across the country are chosen to participate in one of the teams and, of course, one of our own Knights was proudly selected.

Joel, center, in Dallas, Texas for the International Bowl. Photo courtesy of Joel Diaz.

Joel successfully secured six tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass break-up, one fumble recovery, and one interception, which he returned 90 yards for a touchdown. When I asked Joel for a quick interview, he happily complied:

Q: How did you get drafted to the Under 18 U.S. National Team?

A: To be selected to be on the team you have to first participate in a local regional. They have about 20 nationwide. After that you are evaluated, and if you perform well enough, you are then selected to go to the training camp over the summer, which consists of three days of practices and meetings. There are only two training camps: one in Ohio and one in Texas. (I went to the one in Texas). Then you are evaluated there as well and can be selected from the training camps to be on the U.S. National Team.

Q: How did this experience change your life?

A: This was an incredible experience. Being able to play and compete with kids from across the country, as well as some of the best talent nationwide, was just incredible. Not only will I keep the skills and knowledge from this experience, but also the friendships I formed, which was probably my favorite part of the overall experience.

Q: What was it like being on TV?

A: Being on national TV was awesome, but it was kind off hard to wrap my mind around. However, it was so cool knowing that your family, friends, and supporters were watching you on the TV. Having that camera on you makes you play different, at least in my case, and it was the first time I’ve ever played on TV.

Steve Chadwick
Joel after the game against Gilbert Christian earlier in November.

Q: How did it feel to play in a real stadium?

A: The stadium was insane; we played in the Dallas Cowboys stadium and it was an incredible feeling. Having the lights on you while playing on a historic field is just amazing. The field itself was also super nice to play on.

Q: How long was the International Bowl? How many different countries played?

A: Training started the previous Friday, and we had six practices across the four days: Friday through Monday. The game was on Tuesday. Panama, Japan, Mexico, and Canada were all teams at the International Bowl.

Q: Are you planning on playing football in college?

A: I am most definitely planning on playing football in college; it’s become my life and I would love to continue playing.

Congratulations to Joel on his experience of a lifetime and major success while playing for the U.S. team! We can’t wait to see what else you’ll amaze us with!