Simpson students to represent U.S. in international game

Simpson students to represent U.S. in international game

by Kinsey Bak and Nicole Dillenburg

Five Simpson College senior football players were selected to travel with Team Stars & Stripes to Puebla, Mexico and play in the Third Annual Tazon de Estrellas.

With 27 NCAA Division III colleges to choose from, 49 players are selected to be a part of Team Stars and Stripes. Simpson’s five athletes are Colton Calvert, Ben Coy, Braden Everding, Brian Tjossem and Ty Larsen. All five players accepted the invitation and are enthusiastic about the opportunity.

“It was an honor when I found out that I had the opportunity to go to Mexico and play in the Third Annual Tazon de Estrellas,” Ben Coy said. “It was also exciting to hear that other teammates of mine were selected to play in the game.”

Head coaches at the NCAA D-III level selected about 200 players for this opportunity. Once the selections were in, Team Stars & Stripes head coach Bill Manlove, and his assistants picked the players they wanted.

This team consists of a wide-range of colleges and universities that Simpson College may have competed with throughout the year, including Amherst College, Augustana, Central, Fitchburg State University, Grinnell and Rockford College.

“I will be participating in this event because it is a great opportunity that I could not let pass by,” Tjossem said. “It will be a great experience to play with some of the best division three athletes across the United States.”

Not only will they get to play with new players, but also the athletes they faced when playing against teams within the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC).

“There are also a lot of players from the IIAC playing in the game, so that will be kind of fun playing with guys that I have played against the past four years,” Coy said.

The five Simpson seniors are grateful for the opportunity to play football one last time before graduation.

“Football has been my passion since I can remember, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to play one last time with four other close friends,” Larsen said.

In the past, the CONADEIP All Stars has given the American team an intense competition. The All Stars chose their players from the CONADEIP conference, which is similar to the D-III level, being a conference for private schools in Mexico.

Regardless of the culture, both teams are there because of a passion for the game.

“I think it will definitely be a different culture because we will be in a different country, but both teams are there because they love football so there will be something for us to bond over,” Tjossem said. “I hope that there are not too many language barriers, but I feel pretty confident after my mediocre high school Spanish career. I think it will be a fun atmosphere and a great opportunity for a lot of guys to get one more chance to play football and represent our country.”

There are high expectations for the athletes chosen from Simpson, but regardless of what happens, they will go out and give their best effort.

“I am just honored to be part of it and couldn’t be happier to be going down to Mexico with a greater group of guys than the ones that got chosen from Simpson,” Tjossem said. “I just hope we will be able to represent Simpson and the United States in the best way.”

In 2010, Team Stars & Stripes beat the CONADEIP All Stars with a score of 48-7, and in 2009 Team Stars and Stripes lost 24-12.

The 2011 Team Stars & Stripes travel to Pueblo, Mexico on Sunday, Dec. 11. Their schedule will consist of two-a-days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Light practices will follow on Thursday and Friday, which will allow the team to sightsee.

The game is on Saturday, Dec. 17 and will be held at the El Tempo del Dolar (The Temple of Pain).