The University of Michigan announced on Monday that the football team will be heading across the pond for spring football practices, more specifically in the city of Rome.
We are headed to Rome for a week of education and spring drills.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) January 23, 2017
The team plans to head out to Rome shortly after final exams for the winter semester in April. They will be using three of their allotted 15 spring practices, during a time in which they are calling “a week of learning and spring practice in Rome.”
According to the school release, the team will hold the practices at sporting facilities owned by the professional football (soccer) club in Rome, A.S. Roma. Part of their plan is to hold a scrimmage in which the general Italian public can indulge. Outside of football, they will be taking in the various cultural and historical aspects that the city and country has to offer, as well as meet U.S. military personnel that are deployed in Rome.
Michigan athletic director considers this a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for their student-athletes:
“Over the past few decades student-athletes in other sports have had the opportunity to participate in international training trips to practice and prepare for the upcoming season,” said Warde Manuel, U-M’s Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. “This is a tremendous opportunity for these young men to learn about and experience another culture, connect with the people of Italy, and showcase American football internationally. The University of Michigan has always encouraged our students to gain knowledge through international experiences, and we are so glad to provide them with this opportunity.”
The release also mentions that the members of the football team will be exposed to opportunities regarding international internships for their education and studying abroad, something that head coach Jim Harbaugh is an advocate of:
“We were looking to provide our student-athletes with a great educational, cultural and international football experience,” said Jim Harbaugh, U-M’s J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. “I am excited that our student-athletes will be able to take advantage of this amazing educational opportunity, be exposed to another culture, and be ambassadors for the United States and the University of Michigan during our visit to Rome.”
“The study abroad and international internships will better prepare our student-athletes to compete in today’s global economy,” added Harbaugh. “We are committed to offering our students a broad experience that will prepare these young men for life after football.”
A reminder that the team will hold a spring football practice at The Big House in Ann Arbor on April 15 that is free and open to the public.