The NFL FLAG Football World Championship is the highlight of the Flag Football season. National teams representing Canada, China, European Union (3), Mexico, Japan, Korea and Thailand vie to be world champions. The 2006 tournament is being held in Cologne, Germany showcasing the top flag football players from these 10 countries. More than 1,500 kids from 16 countries compete in national competitions to represent their country at the FFWC. All language barriers are removed and the players form lasting friendships as they visit cultural attractions during this weeklong tournament.
Manhasset resident Yianni Gavalas is commandeering the six boys from the United States. The NFL selected Yianni and his teammates, the DAC Panthers, to be TEAM USA after they won the National Title on ESPN in November. The NFL is flying the boys to Cologne Germany for a week of games and activities.
Along with his teammates, Yianni will try to bring the World Title back to the United States. Last year the team from Thailand beat the US team, MoSteel team from Miami, to win the World Title. The 2006 TEAM USA is comprised mostly of boys from Queens with the exception of quarterback Yianni Gavalas of Manhasset and Nicky Athanasopoulos of Roslyn.
Yianni and his teammates will be leaving for Germany in August. Until then they are practicing every week to prepare for the best competition the world has to offer. This year's TEAM USA is at a disadvantage as the international age requirement tops off at 15 years old unlike the US requirements that splits up the younger boys (11) and the older boys (12-14) into two groups. Yianni and most of his teammates are 11 years of age. Last year's USA representative that lost in the finals to the team from Thailand was comprised of mostly older boys. Regardless the boys are practicing hard for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
For more information on NFL Flag Football go to www.nflyouthfootball.com.