Athletes, mentors win at 2016 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl
By Sgt. Jacky Fang, Marine Corps Recruiting Command
CARSON, California --
The 2016 Semper Fidelis All-American Football Program finished up today after a week of practice, community service and leadership lessons from drill instructors with a football game played at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Marines mentor and shape the nation’s best and brightest with the Semper Fi Football Program in a weeklong event with approximately 90 student-athletes from across the country who have demonstrated success both on and off the field. The Marines, along with some of the best high school football coaches, helped players develop skills not only important to football, but also in leadership and character.
“The purpose of this bowl game is to bring the Marine Corps out and to let the community see just how we affect the community, how effective we are with the young people,” said Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. “It’s not necessarily recruiting for the Marine Corps, it’s more of camaraderie with the community.”
The Semper Fi Bowl is unique because the players aren’t only gifted athletically, but they are all high-academic performers who have demonstrated commitment to positive contributions in their communities.
“It’s a team effort, the public expects (Marines) to be a good example. We want to show them that we are a good example, to the young people especially,” said Green. “(We want to) show them honor, courage and commitment and make positive influences in the community and beyond the game of football.”
Drill Instructors from the Marine Corps’ Recruit Depots in Parris Island and San Diego played a crucial role in the program and provided a hands-on, practical approach to reinforce Corps' values.
“The (players) all come from up and down the coast and just like recruits they have to learn to adapt and overcome their differences,” said Staff Sgt. Samantha Cannon, drill instructor, 4th Battalion, Company P, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. “They didn’t know each other before Monday and just to come out here and show them that there is something bigger than just their high school, something bigger than themselves, is what really brings football and the Marine Corps together.”
Aside from practices, team building events and interaction with guest speakers and Marines, the players visited young boys and girls in the Carson, Calif., area during a community relations event. The athletes and Marines played games with the children and encouraged them to be good citizens. The community event taught players about the importance of being a positive presence in their neighborhoods.
“I hope they take away the team effort the Marine Corps shows working together and the traits and principles that we talked to them about,” said Green. “To be leaders, young kids look up to them and the community expects a lot out of them and I want them to be a positive example.”
The East team walked away with the win at 28-13, but all players walked away with valuable lessons to use the rest of their lives.
2016 Semper Fidelis All-American Football Program
Marine Corps Recruiting Command