U.S. National Team announces coaching staff for IFAF U-19 World Championship in Mexico City

By Brent Glasgow | Posted 6/7/2018

USA Football has announced Matt Hennesy of Pawhuska High School (Oklahoma) will lead a nine-member coaching staff for the U.S. National Team at the fifth International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Under-19 World Championship next month. 

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A high school coaching veteran of 26 years, Hennesy enters his first season at Pawhuska. In 2012, he took over a Locust Grove (Oklahoma) program that had won just two games in its previous three seasons, and went 52-18 (.742) during his tenure. Hennesy was defensive coordinator for the 2016 U-19 National Team that competed in the IFAF World Championship in Harbin, China, and was head coach of the 2017 U-18 squad that defeated Canada in the North American Championship.

"There is no greater honor, or more desirable environment of competition, than representing our country within America’s favorite sport in pursuit of a world championship," Hennesy said. "Our team will be prepared by an exceptional coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Blaise Holzer, who brings college experience, as well as defensive coordinator Matt Gegenheimer, whose odd front style is well-suited for the international game."

USA Football coach Matt Hennesy

Coach Matt Hennesy has extensive experience with the U.S. National Team.

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Following its training camp July 3-12 at Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff), the National Team will travel to Mexico City for the first of its three games July 14 against Australia. The event – held every two years – culminates with the Gold Medal Game on July 22.

An exemption granted by the NCAA allows high school seniors to play for the National Team and not have their participation count as one of two permitted all-star game appearances. The National Team player roster will be released later this month.

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The United States is one of six nations that will compete for the championship, along with Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Sweden. The U.S. earned a silver medal at the 2016 IFAF U-19 World Championship, as it lost to Canada 24-6. The U.S. has won two of the four World Championships to date (2009, ‘14), while Canada claimed the other two (‘12, ‘16).  

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Coaching Staff



High School/College


Matt Hennesy

Head Coach

Pawhuska (Oklahoma)

Blaise Holzer

Offensive Coordinator/QBs

Shorter University (Georgia)

Matt Gegenheimer

Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

Prior Lake (Minnesota)

Fred Biletnikoff, Jr.

Wide Receivers

Dougherty Valley (California)

Virgil Hart

Offensive Line

Northwestern State University (Louisiana)

Mike Patterson


Scottsdale Christian Academy (Arizona)

Kresean Reed


Phoenix College (Arizona)

Lamont Robinson

Running Backs

Washington Township (New Jersey)

Bill Williams

Defensive Line

Holdenville (Oklahoma)