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Football takes Cocalico’s Brady Maxwell to Italy
It’s been a busy year for Brady Maxwell.
The Cocalico senior student-athlete is a major contributor in three sports. Football took him to the postseason, as the Eagles played until the second round of the District Three playoffs. His wrestling season was extended as well when Maxwell earned the silver medal in his weight class at Sectionals, plus competed in the District Three Tournament. And he currently contributes in two throwing events (discuss and shot put) for the Cocalico track and field team.
In Maxwell’s spare time, he completed several college trips, recently choosing The University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. The school is located midway between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. He’ll play football and major in mechanical engineering.
Maxwell will get some extra football work during an extended spring break. In November he received an invite to practice and play with American Football Worldwide, as they travel to Italy for a contest against the Italian Federation U19 team on April 22. Hempfield senior Brendan Flores is the only other teammate from Pennsylvania.
The 29-man roster, finalized in February, includes five from Illinois, the organization’s home state, plus four from California and three from New York. Several states contribute two each, including Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Wisconsin and Arizona. This will be the fifth annual overseas game for AFW Elite and the third consecutive in Italy. The first two were in France.
“We go to New York, fly to South Carolina and meet up with everybody else before we go over,” explained Maxwell. “We get to Rome on Easter Sunday. We’ll tour the Vatican that same day, which should be pretty crazy. I’m also looking forward to seeing the Roman Coliseum.”
Football begins the next day, with a scrimmage against an Italian Club team that jumped at the chance when they heard the Americans were coming.
“We’ll be touring and practicing all week,” added Maxwell. “Each city we go to, we’ll stay at a different hotel. We’ll practice in the morning. The afternoon will be touring and traveling. In the evening, we’ll get to do whatever we want.”
That down time will be shared with a familiar face, as Maxwell’s mom will join him on the trip.
“I’m pretty excited about that,” Brady said. “I don’t think she has ever been there before.”
Two challenges for this squad of 29. Number one, it’s not a big number and virtually everyone will have to play the entire game. Number two, they’ve never played together, a fact not lost on head coach Jim Barnes.
“Putting together an effective and well-coordinated game plan in less than a week will be a formidable challenge,” said Barnes in the February news release. “It is clear the young men are committed and I believe their focus to excel will be there.”
Off the field, another challenge for the Americans will be to communicate as they weave their way through Italy.
“My Spanish teacher told me that Spanish and Italian are similar in some ways,” explained Maxwell. “If someone is trying to talk to you in Italian, use your Spanish, they may understand. It will be interesting, trying to communicate.”
The team will make stops in Siena and Florence before the final destination with a stay at the tip of famous Lake Como, just north of Milan, the site of the game.
“It’s an awesome opportunity,” said Maxwell. “It’s truly once in a lifetime. To do it in your high school senior year, I’m really excited.”
As to his college decision, Maxwell narrowed the choice to two Ohio schools.
“I just googled ‘Best Division Three football schools’ and Mount Union was one of them that popped up.”
MU has won the D-3 national championship 12 times and appeared in the title game another seven times in the team’s history.
“I found out when their camp was and went out there,” added Maxwell. “I had a really good showing. Their D-line coach really liked me and got in touch. I had my overnight the end of January. After that, I really felt like this is the best fit for me.”
Maxwell also looked at Case Western in Cleveland.
“They have a really good engineering program and a pretty competitive football team,” noted Maxwell. “Case is more of a city school, while Mount Union is a little more rural (like Cocalico).”
Another factor included an $11,000 per year academic scholarship offered by Mount Union.
“With engineering, you can pretty much go anywhere,” Maxwell said. “We’ll see. I’m interested in robotics and things like that. I’d like to end up where most of my family is.”