Stars and Stripes Forever

A star-spangled football team composed of  high schoolers from across the U.S., including a band from Viewpoint School in Calabasas, nabbed a win over 6,400 miles away on April 9.

Team Stars & Stripes overwhelmed the Chinese American Football Academy 56-0 for the Global Ambassadors Bowl crown in front of a capacity crowd at the Shanghai Lixin University of Commerce Stadium in Shanghai, China. 

The win pushed Team Stars & Stripes’ overall record to 8-2 since the bowl game began in 2008.

The Viewpoint players on the American team included freshmen Connor Blake and Trevor Hylen; sophomores Aiden Rodriquez, Campbell Beattie, John Watanabe and Michael Rhodes; juniors Matt Villanueva and Zak Boyce and senior Noah Cohen. Head coach Chris Adamson, who coached the Viewpoint Patriots to the CIF playoffs last season, led team Stars & Stripes. 

Adamson said the Patriots players performed well in front of a crowd of 800 to 1,000 spectators on a turf field. The coach said Villanueva, Boyce and Rhodes — all offensive linemen — did a good job protecting the quarterback and allowing the offense to move the ball.

“Aiden Rodriquez played really well at linebacker. Noah Cohen played a great game at outside linebacker. He made all kinds of plays,” Adamson said.

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Adamson added that Hylen caught a pass on offense.

“He made a nice run,” he said.

The Global Ambassadors Bowl gives high school athletes from across the country the opportunity to travel internationally and play football. The players are selected based on their on- and off-the-field conduct. 

The team was in China from April 1-9. While there, the players and coaches toured sites such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Beijing Olympics Complex and the Shanghai River.

Adamson said having the chance to experience China’s historical sites, sprawling metropolises, markets, high speed rails and conduct youth football clinics made the game against the Chinese American Football Academy the trip’s “icing on the cake.” 

“Every day we saw two to three things that were incredible,” he said. 

Adamson said the contest’s main goal was to expose football players in China to a quality of play they had never seen and to challenge their skills.

“This game wasn’t about the final score,” he said. “The clinic we held before the game was well received by youngsters who were very eager to learn, and this is what this whole journey has been about — teaching young people, whether they are visiting from the United States and discovering a new culture, or are from China and are learning about our sport.”

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