By Mark Ambrogi
For Justus Schumann, visiting Italy was nice. Getting to know fellow football players was even better.
“The best part was meeting teammates from literally all across the country, from California to Texas,” Schumann said. “Through the practices, free time and sight-seeing we really gelled together. It made for a good team atmosphere.”
Schumann, an outside linebacker, was one of five Carmel High School senior football players who represented the U.S. in an American Football Worldwide Elite team in a game against Italy’s under-19 national team on March 26 in Bergamo, Italy. Twenty different states were represented on the American 33-man roster. They had four practices over seven days. The U.S. romped, 68-3.
“It was definitely great knowing players from your school, you had guys to share the funny experiences from your high school to go with it,” Schumann said. “To have that extra time with them was fun. It brought back memories and we also made new memories.”
The other ex-Carmel players were linebacker/fullback Sam Knapp, linebacker Andrew Peters, wide receiver Marcus Perkins and tight end Nathan Melchi.
Knapp, who will play at Virginia Military Institute, a Football Championship Subdivision program, said sight-seeing was definitely the best part.
“There is a city in Tuscany called Siena that I’m pretty sure we all fell in in love with,” Knapp said.
The team also visited Rome, the first day of the Holy Week, March 21, and Vatican City on March 22.
Perkins said his favorite part was making unique memories and having a fun experience with new teammates.
“It was cool to have (CHS) teammates, but we definitely tried to do our best to get out there and make new friends and have different experiences with people we may not see again in cities we may not see again,” Perkins said.
Perkins said the U.S. team has big experience.
“We’ve been playing 11 years, it’s a culture here and a club there,” Perkins said.
Peters, who enjoyed visiting Siena and Florence, said it was cool playing in the game.
“I would do it again if I had the opportunity,” Peters said. “I didn’t know much about it until some (former CHS players) went last year. It seemed like a lot of fun.”