Yokosuka Gakuen Eagles and Yokohama Nanryo Bisons visit Yokosuka base
Story and photo by Greg Mitchell, CFAY Public Affairs
Nile C. Kinnick’s Red Devils hosted a joint football practice with the Yokosuka Gakuen Eagles and Yokohama Nanryo Bisons at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka Berkey Field, Aug. 30.
Practicing and exchanging the sports’ technical aspects were initial goals but also the event gave students the opportunity to interact with their host nation counterparts.
“This is always a wonderful experience for our kids to meet face-to-face with our Japanese neighbors,” said varsity head football coach, Dan Joley. “It is an opportunity for them to get out of their comfort zone and mingle; just another fond memory that they can reflect back to once they get older; priceless moments in their lives.”
On the Japanese side, the feeling was mutual.
“Today was a very good event for our students,” said Bisons head coach Naomasa Yoshida. “We would like to continue these types of events with each other, year after year.”
Players simulated real game scenarios, starting on their own 20 yard line and given only five plays to advance in an attempt to score before they turned the ball over to the opposing team, switching roles on both offense and defense.
“I really think we have several players on our team with high IQ in terms of athletic ability,” Joley said.
“We had players playing in three to four different positions and surprisingly they were able to respond and adjust easily. Obviously we are still in the developmental phase. It is an ongoing process to build cohesion amongst kids but, I did see some improvement and they get better every time they play.”
During the entire session four coaches were on the field, watching players’ positioning and movement, stopping play when necessary to teach proper technique and execution of plays.
“Football for us is such a fun sport and when we have the opportunity to train with the American students,this allows us to draw upon every skillset and power that we have to get a good rhythm to prepare for an actual game,” said Yoshida.
Upon completion of the practice, players from both sides shared a picnic-style lunch and had the opportunity to become more acquainted with each other.
“I hope that they can learn something from us as well as we learn something from them as well,” said junior running back Dre Paylor. “I think it is cool that we are able to do this type of event in the community.”
Nile C. Kinnick’s official football season begins Sept. 5 with a road contest against Zama American High School at Camp Zama, Japan.