Over the best decade, South Florida has seen a number of teams travel out of town to play in marquee matchups against some of the best high school football teams the rest of the country has to offer.
Miami Northwestern ventured out to Texas in 2007 to take on Southlake Carroll.
St. Thomas Aquinas and Miami Central both have made trips to New Jersey to square off against Don Bosco Prep, a team that’ll be in South Florida this weekend to face Plantation American Heritage.
Booker T. Washington went to South Carolina in 2007 and played against Summerville, a team that had future Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green on its roster. The Tornadoes also flew out to Las Vegas in 2013 to take on powerhouse Bishop Gorman – the team that’ll also be hosting the Aquinas Raiders in late September.
While those teams and a handful of others have packed in buses or planes to put their skills to the test; when Belen Jesuit gets on the road for its season-opening game this weekend, the Wolverines will need their passports.
Belen was selected as one of six high school football teams to participate in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, which will be played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland September 2nd.
The event, which will also feature a college football game between Georgia Tech and Boston College on September 3rd, features three high school teams from Georgia; two from Florida and one from New Jersey.
Belen, the 2015 district 15-8A champion, will play in the third game of the tripleheader – taking on The Marist School from Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia’s Westminster School will play the Community School of Naples and Georgia Blessed Trinity will face off with New Jersey St. Peter’s Prep.
The games are scheduled to be streamed online and luckily for South Florida fans, Belen’s game will kick off at noon. Because of the five-hour time difference, the first game will begin at 6 a.m. eastern time.
The Wolverines arrived in Ireland on Monday, allowing time for sight-seeing and for everyone to become acclimated to the time change. Also, the traveling teams will participate in a traditional American Pep Rally and Parade in Ireland’s capital, while also undertaking educational tours during their stay to prepare for the Dublin Friday Night Lights matches.
In expanding established Irish-American relations, as many as 3,000 travelers associated with the high school games are expected to visit Dublin.
“We are excited to have some of America’s top high school teams go over to Ireland for one of the most memorable experiences of their lives,” said John Anthony, CEO of Anthony Travel and a Director of Irish American Events Ltd. “This is a game they will be telling their grandchildren about someday. We look forward to thousands of American football fans traveling across the Atlantic to join local fans and share this amazing educational, cultural and sports experience.”