Stevenson to Represent Country in USA-Canada Showdown

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MHS sophomore Alec Stevenson 

Come next week, Malibu High School’s tough-nosed sophomore linebacker, Alec Stevenson, will take part in a competition few football players on any level get to experience. While there are many off-season all-star games and exhibitions, few competitions pit different nations against one another. That’s why Stevenson is excited to represent the United States on Sat., Feb. 8, in the Under-17 U.S. vs. Canada high school football game at the University of Texas at Arlington. The game is part of a competition called the 2014 International Bowl series. 

“I think it’s a really good opportunity, and I am really excited that not only will I play on a team with great athletes but I get to represent my country while doing it,” Stevenson said. “It’s a cool rivalry because we are the two main football countries. It will be fun to see who is better. I can’t wait.” 

USA Football and Football Canada, the sport’s national governing bodies in each country, will host five football games featuring top student-athletes from each country at age levels ranging from seventh through 12th grade. Stevenson, 15, joins a select group of athletes in representing the U.S. and participating in one of football’s true international competitions. 

From Monday through Friday, Stevenson will practice during the week ahead of the game in Dallas. He will also get the chance to scrimmage against the Canadian team in AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys that is known colloquially as “Jerry World,” for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. 

“I’ve been trying to focus on school but it’s been getting tough,” Stevenson admitted. “…it hasn’t set in yet like how cool that’s going to be.” 

Stevenson was selected to participate in the gridiron showdown after being chosen to take part in USA Football’s U.S. National Team program last summer.

The program takes into account both academic and athletic achievements. Stevenson excels in the classroom, maintaining a 3.1 cumulative grade point average. Last semester during football season, he achieve a 3.77 GPA. He has already been collecting assignments from teachers to avoid falling behind on schoolwork during his experience in Texas. 

On the field, Stevenson was a one-man wrecking crew for a Sharks team that struggled to score points in 2013. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound sophomore averaged 13.2 tackles over 10 games at the linebacker position. That total led all sophomores in the state of California. 

Three games in particular stood out, as the season wore on and Stevenson gained more experience. On Sept. 27, he recorded a school-record 28 tackles against Ribet Academy. Late in the season he showed that game was no fluke, posting back-to-back games with 23 and 21 tackles against Santa Clara and Fillmore, respectively. 

“I was just really fired up and I wanted to do anything to help my team win,” he said. “Those teams specifically ran the ball a lot. I was just doing my job. You got to be tough, physical and smart. You have to be able to read plays before they happen.” 

With two more years at Malibu remaining, Stevenson has the chance to be the best linebacker to ever graduate from the school. 

The young player idolizes legendary Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus, and plays the game as Butkus did with great tenacity, aggression and a fearless attitude. 

“He was always a good run stopper,” Stevenson said. “I pride my game first and foremost being able to stop the run and just being tough in the middle.” 

Stevenson, whose dream is to play Division One college football, enjoys big collisions, such as sacking the quarterback or meeting a runner at full speed. 

“That’s better than a touchdown in my opinion. Going man-on-man against a big fullback up the middle. Got to find out who is tougher. It’s an awesome feeling,” Stevenson said. “I love football. I don’t really know how to say it any other way. I just love football.” 

The U.S.-Canada U-17 game will kick off at 11 a.m. on Sat., Feb. 8. Those interested in watching can view a live stream of the broadcast at internationalbowl.com. Stevenson will be wearing number 42.