Saugus High’s Jaelin Kinney knows exactly what he’s most excited for when he travels to Ireland this coming April as a part of the American Football Worldwide Elite International Team.
“I just want to see the sights and get to know the culture,” Kinney said. “And really eat the food.”
A senior defensive end for Saugus last season, Kinney will have the chance to break bread with 33 players from around the United States as well as a team from Ireland in the week-long trip that will begin on April 1 and end on April 8.
He’ll get a mix of culture and football, visiting cities like Dublin and Galway while also preparing for and competing in a football game against an all-Irish team.
The American team will practice for five days before the game, which includes a session with Irish football players from the University of Limerick.
Kinney, who will play for Claremont McKenna College in the fall, plans to meet a handful of his teammates from California before the trip, but will not know most of the players he’ll share the field with before he arrives in Ireland.
“Usually (with) teammates you get like a few days to review plays and get to know them, but it’s going to be a challenge because I’m only going to have two days to review the plays and get to know them,” he said.
Kinney, who holds the Saugus record for career sacks, received an unexpected phone call in December from an American Football Worldwide coach asking if he was interested in playing overseas.
His answer was automatic. Expanding American football internationally seemed like a no-brainer.
“I’m a firm supporter of (expanding football), and it’s good to see people definitely play American football or any other sport for that matter,” Kinney said.
“It’s great to see other countries going out and adapting their own teams to the sport. It just makes communication amongst other countries that much better. When you have more sports in common with more countries, people can relate to one another better.”
For more information on the trip, you can visit Kinney’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/jaelinAFW.