On March 10, six ASIJ senior football players had the privilege of representing Team USA in the Tomodachi Bowl. This friendly match, pitting Team USA (made up of athletes from ASIJ, Yokota, Kinnick, Zama, Kubasaki, Kadena, and Seoul American High Schools) vs. Team Kanto (Hosei and Waseda High Schools) was played at Yokota high school to honor the connections between our schools and the host country and participate in a game that has been played in Japan since 1934. It was a sunny and dusty day at Bonk Field, and in the end Team USA prevailed with a final score of 57-21. (Watch the game online)
Representing ASIJ were seniors Henry Wallrapp, Ken Yajima, Takuma Riordan, Ryan Ogier, Matthew Zielinski, and Droggin James. Of note was the solid kicking of Takuma Riordan who went 7 for 7 on extra points and had kicked three touchbacks. Henry Wallrapp represented Team USA with two sacks and a blocked punt; earning him Lineman Of The Game honors.
More important than the final score was the bond made between US and Japanese students through football. Post-game pictures carried on for nearly an hour. All told, 40 US and over 100 Japanese football players squeezed in for a group picture amid laughter and handshakes. Opportunities to play football are rare, and even more rare is an opportunity to represent your school and country while doing something you love. Sunday was a day for this and our ASIJ students represented “Mustang Pride” with class. (Craig Karnitz, PE)