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Charleroi's Jenkins looking for players for football game in Italy

| Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Rich Downer/For The Valley Independent
The strain of Friday's tough 30-27 loss to Southmoreland shows on the face of Charleroi coach Ed Jenkins.

Ed Jenkins has been somewhat of a renaissance man during his life.

His travels have taken him to a lot of different areas.

Not only is he the football coach at Charleroi, but he also coached football on the pro level in Italy at the beginning of the decade.

He coached in the Italian Federation of American Football League in 2000-01.

And since his days of coaching in Italy, Jenkins has returned to the country a half dozen times.

“I really enjoyed coaching football over there. Really, it is such an amazing, beautiful country,” he said. “Every time I've gone there, it has been a wondrous experience.”

Jenkins is planning on sharing that Italian experience with 30 football players in the summer of 2015.

He is in the process of putting together a team of players from the WPIAL, in general, and the mid-Mon Valley, in particular, to go to Italy to play against Italy's U-19 national team.

“We will be Team America and wear the red, white and blue. We will be there to represent our country as ambassadors of football,” Jenkins said. “I think it will be an exciting experience for all involved.”

Jenkins is seeking boys interested in playing in the game who will be seniors in 2015.

“They have to have used all of their high school eligibility and I don't want any kids older than that because we will be playing against a team composed of Italian kids who are 18 or 19 years old,” he explained of the players he is looking for.

Jenkins said the plan is to get 30 “all-star type” players to commit to the trip and then practice for a few weekends in the summer of 2015 at Charleroi and then go to Rome, Italy, in July of that year for the game.

The trip will last 10 days and Jenkins said during the journey, players will go to places like Florence and Venice to experience the wonderment of Italian culture.

“In the times I have gone there, I have been truly amazed at what life is like there, the beauty of that country,” Jenkins said. “I want our kids to experience that as well. For many of them it will be the trip of a lifetime.”

Jenkins said he has been in contact with an Italian representative who will facilitate the trip and activities in Italy.

All players will be responsible for paying for their own trip, but he added that interested players will have approximately 15-16 months to raise the funds.

“They can do it by fund-raising, seeking sponsorships or through donations,” he said. “Some parents have indicated to me they will use the trip as a graduation gift.”

Jenkins said he is planning to have an informational meeting at the alumni room at Charleroi High on a Saturday during January in order to allow parents to get information and ask questions about the trip.

“This is still in the early planning stages. I need to get some players who are interested in going up against a team of talented athletes over there,” he said. “The kids over there will be coming from all over the country to play on the national team. They will be prepared. I'm pretty excited about it.”

Jenkins said until the informational meeting is held, he can be reached for additional information by calling (724) 351-0069.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or

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