Written by Will Frasure, USA Football
USA Football chairman Carl Peterson couldn’t help but acknowledge the continued and growing global popularity of football as he watched the IFAF Senior World Championship in Austria this past weekend.
The former NFL coach and executive has been a bullish supporter of international football for years. He was an active supporter of international football and NFL Europe when he was the president and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs. Peterson has attended more than 10 football championships in Europe during his prolific career.
“I think without question, the level of competition throughout the world is getting better,” Peterson said to media during a press conference after the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Australia. “It is obvious that the athletes in Europe are as good as ours. All they need is more exposure to our training and background.
“I think there will come a period in time when more European players will be in the National Football League. And we have some younger players right now that are working very hard to accomplish that. I am very confident that will happen.”
The growth of football around the world – bolstered with an all-time high with 59 countries playing the sport – excites Peterson. After starting as a collegiate coach nearly 40 years ago, he has seen how the game “gives many attributes to young people that perhaps other sports do not.”
He also was impressed with the level of competition he witnessed during the championship’s first weekend. The effort exuded by not only the players but the coaches and everyone else involved is something that Peterson complemented.
“The competition is key, and I was very proud of the American team and our coaches and players but equally so for Australia and all the other participants,” Peterson said. “I know what goes into this game.”
With the first weekend finished, Peterson was more than satisfied with the production IFAF put on for everyone across Austria. From the quality of play on the field to the hospitality off of it, the USA Football chairman had only good things to say about the first couple of days of the tournament.
“We thank everyone in involved for this hospitality,” Peterson said. “It has been wonderful, and I know it will continue to be a great couple weeks in the great country of Austria.”