In the early morning on Thursday, Jan. 11, three Seaquam students will be on a plane to Texas, gearing up to play football for Team Canada in the International Bowl.
Xavier Cole, 14, and twin brothers Jalen and Tyson Philpot, 17, were selected to play for Team Canada for the ninth International Bowl, hosted by USA Football.
The tournament, which will take place from Jan. 12 to 19 in Arlington, TX, will host teams from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Japan and Europe’s Nordic counties as they compete against each other over the course of the week.
“The level of football is going to be an eye opener,” Jalen Philpot said. “The Americans take their football serious.”
“I’m excited,” Tyson Philpot added, “I just want to go prove that I can play just as well as those guys can.”
All three of the boys have played football from a young age (Cole started at nine years old and the Philpots at six), beginning with the local North Delta Longhorns and eventually ending up on Team B.C., where they were tapped for for this year’s national teams.
The twins were on a recruiting visit at the University of Calgary when they found out they were selected for Team Canada’s U18 team.
“We were at practice one morning, and my dad called me saying that ‘the coach of Team Canada called and you guys made it, so get ready for the selection,'” Jalen said. “About 10 minutes later they posted on Twitter and tagged us saying we made the team.”
Cory Philpot, the twins’ father and former running back for the B.C. Lions, will also be at the International Bowl as an offensive coach for the U18 team.
Cole, on the other hand, didn’t found out he had made the team right away.
“My friend sent me a screenshot of the Twitter post,” he said. “It was really exciting.”
Cole will be playing in the U16 Western Canada team as a running back, facing off in a series of games on Jan. 17 against the United States and two Mexican teams at the University of Arlington’s stadium.
“I think it will be … exciting to show on a national stage what you can do,” Cole said.
Tyson Philpot will be playing as a receiver and Jalen Philpot will be playing as a running back for the U18 Canadian team.
They will be competing in a single game against the United States on Jan. 17 as well, only they will be playing at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
“It won’t be filled, but I’m pretty sure there’s going to be quite a few people there,” Jalen said. “I’ve heard a lot of coaches are going to be there and [there will be] a lot of exposure.”
In addition to being a potential college recruitment ground for the Philpots, who are in Grade 12 this year, the International Bowl will serve as something of a tryout for the U19 Canadian world team, which will compete in a world-wide tournament this summer.
All of Team Canada’s games at the International Bowl will be available to watch via the tournament’s live stream at internationalbowlix.com/take-action/.