MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2009 - MEXICO CITY – Baltimore Ravens practice squad member, defensive tackle Salomón Solano, has been named to the coaching staff of the Mexican junior national team bidding to qualify for the 2009 IFAF Junior World Championship to be played in Canton, Ohio, from June 27 to July.
Mexico will host either Panama or the Bahamas on Saturday, February 14, in the tournament's final qualifier at the Estadio Roberto Tapatio Mendez at Ciudad University in Mexico City, kickoff 2pm. The winner will become the third and final representative of the Pan-American region and will join the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, France, Japan and either Australia or New Zealand to complete an eight-team field at the inaugural event.
The 2009 IFAF (International Federation of American Football) Junior World Championship will feature the world's best high school-aged (19 and under) national teams from four continents. Games will be played at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, home of the NFL's annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.
Solano is no stranger to international competition having twice represented Mexico at junior level himself in 2003 and 2004. He first emerged as a force at the University of Tamaulipas where he led the team with 5 sacks and 39 tackles in 2005. He was selected to represent Mexico in the NFL Global Junior Championship, an international event formerly played during the week of Super Bowl in the host city, helping his nation to a third place finish behind the USA and Canada on both occasions.
During the 2008 NFL preseason, the 23-year-old played in three games for the Ravens, but under the terms of the 16-player NFL International Practice Squad initiative, is not eligible to be activated during the regular season. Solano has also spent time on the practice squad of the Detroit Lions and recorded 16 tackles during two seasons with the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe.
Ernesto Alfaro del Villar, who is the head coach of the 2007 Liga Mayor university conference champion Burros Blancos from the Instituto Pólitecnico Nacional, was named the head coach of the Mexican junior national team and added Solano to his staff.
FMFA (Federación Mexicana de Futbol Americano) President José Jorge Orobio Rosas revealed that Team Mexico is inviting players based in Mexico and those living outside the nation's borders that qualify through nationality and meet the age requirements of the 19-and-under tournament, to tryout for the team. Practices will be held at Campo de I.P.N. Zacatenco and Campo de Buhos in Casco de Santo Tomas.
Mexico will entertain either the Bahamas or Panama on February 14 for the final place in Canton. The Bahamas' visit to take on Panama's junior national team on January 24 will be the country's first venture into international competition since becoming a member of IFAF in July 2008. Australia and New Zealand will clash on the Australian Day weekend of January 24, 2009, in the nation's capital Canberra to decide the representative of Oceania.
Visit the official 2009 IFAF Junior World Championship website at www.JWCFootball.com
The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) unites more than 50 countries on five continents through a burgeoning international sport. With national football federations in existence for more than 70 years, IFAF was created in 1998 to organize and further develop the game through international cooperation and global competition. Having conducted Senior World Championships (players aged 20 and older) since 1999 in Europe and Asia, Summer 2009 in Canton, Ohio, represents the first IFAF Junior World Championship (19 years and younger). The IFAF office is located near Paris, France. For more, visit www.ifaf.info.
About USA Football
USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, hosts more than 100 football training events annually offering education for coaches and game officials, skill development for players and resources for youth football league commissioners. The independent non-profit manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competitions and has provided more than $1.5 million in equipment grants and volunteer background check subsidies for youth football leagues since 2006. USA Football was started by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund and is chaired by former U.S. Congressman and professional quarterback Jack Kemp.