MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Some of the finest young football players in America are competing for their chance to play in the inaugural Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl Jan. 3, 2012.
The Semper Fidelis Bowl, which will be held in conjunction with Fiesta Bowl Week in Phoenix, Ariz., is part of a partnership between Marine Corps Recruiting Command and Junior Rank. The bowl game, which will be nationally televised, will be an East-West format game featuring the top 100 high school seniors that participated in Junior Rank camps throughout the year.
Junior Rank was founded in 2008 by Shaon Berry, a youth football coach and former University of Pittsburgh running back. The goal of the program is to develop the next generation of student athletes through education, evaluation and instruction. Football players from middle school age all the way up to high school seniors can attend the camps throughout the country.
“Leadership, attitude, and teamwork are integral to both the United States Marine Corps and Junior Rank,” said Major General Ronald L. Bailey, Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruiting Command. “So we are proud to partner with an organization whose mission is to help young men develop character, integrity and focus on academic excellence; three keys to victory both on and off the field.”
As part of the camps, Marines from the local area will attend to lead physical training for the players and to mentor them on leadership and discipline.
“We are there to assist in physical training, developing the player’s character and to teach them the life skills a person needs to be a quality citizen,” said Capt. Martin Galvancastillo, project officer for Junior Rank, MCRC. “The Marines will serve as mentors for [the football players].”
According to Capt. Brad A. Goldvarg, recruitment advertising officer, 6th Marine Corps District, the camps have been a great success so far.
"I think the camps have really been fantastic,” said Goldvarg, who has attended two camps. “There are great quality kids there. We're changing the impression of the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps exists because the American people want a Marine Corps."
The Marine Corps partnered with Junior Rank as an opportunity to showcase its core values of honor, courage and commitment to a broader audience throughout the country.
“The United States Marine Corps is the embodiment of honor, tradition and working with your teammate to achieve an objective,” said Berry. “We look forward to bringing in the best athletes from across the nation to a beautiful setting in Phoenix for a true celebration of the game.”
Looking ahead, the Marine Corps will team up with Junior Rank for many more camps across the country during 2011 leading up to the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. To find out when Junior Rank and the Marines will be in your area or for more information, visit http://www.juniorrank.com/ .