While most collegiate football teams were enjoying the start of their summer vacation last month, the Elmhurst football team was hard at work preparing for an opportunity most other football programs never get—playing a game on international soil.
On June 3, the Bluejays traveled to Rome to compete against the Legio XIII Roma football team in a contest dubbed the Roma Bowl. Fresh off a successful season at home, Elmhurst continued its winning streak with a 74-0 victory over the Italian team. Elmhurst scored on offense, defense and special teams in head coach Joe Adam’s coaching debut.
“The game in Rome was a great experience for our team in promoting the identity of Elmhurst football,” said Adam. “It was a complete team effort and a great stepping stone for our group of men. I hope we can carry this momentum into our summer workouts.”
The overseas contest immersed the Elmhurst players in an international experience while also giving them additional practice time. “First and foremost, the trip gave our student-athletes the opportunity to be great ambassadors for both our college and our country,” said Adam.
“Secondly, it gave us a wonderful opportunity to improve as a team through more practice and a competitive game situation. Our players worked extremely hard during early morning and late night spring practices, a tribute to their hard-working, blue-collar mentality.”
For Adam, one of the highlights of the trip was watching the Bluejays practice side by side with their Italian counterparts the day before the Roma Bowl. "The game of football is continuing to become more of a global sport," he said. "With larger schools and the NFL playing more games oversea, this gave us the opportunity to do our part and share our understanding and experience with players and coaches that want to learn, compete and improve. We went over drills, shared coaching ideas and talked about our different backgrounds.”
Although the players worked hard during the nine-day trip, they had plenty of sightseeing opportunities. The team visited the Parthenon in Athens and the Colosseum in Rome, then finished their trip up with a day at the Vatican to view Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
“To see the history of the different countries we visited was something our group will never forget,” said Adam.
The Elmhurst football team has taken three international trips over the past decade and won each contest. Adam has already begun planning the team’s next trip. “The international trips are educational for our team while helping us prepare for the upcoming season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to expand the Elmhurst football identity overseas. New and future recruits can expect to have an international experience with the Elmhurst football family.”