The Miller Place School District is proud to announce that Miller Place High School senior Joseph Panico has been selected to participate in the American Football Worldwide (AFW) ELITE High School program. The prestigious football league gives well-accomplished high school football players from throughout the United States an opportunity to travel around the world to compete against the best U19 football players from other countries. This April, Panico and the AFW team will go to Italy to play against the Italian National 19U Team. Panico was the only student from New York State who was selected to participate in this opportunity.
“Joe has been an incredible role model within the Miller Place School District, both as an accomplished athlete and as an engaged community member, and we are honored to support him as he pursues this wonderful opportunity,” said Miller Place School District Superintendent Dr. Marianne Cartisano. “The District offers a wide variety of rigorous academic and athletic opportunities, and we are proud of our student-athletes’ many successes both on and off the field. We are proud to have Joe represent the Miller Place School District as he competes on the international stage, and we wish him the highest level of success.”
In order to qualify for the roster, Head Coach of the USA team, Jim Barnes, selected players based on evaluations of their highlight films. Players need to have been a starter for his high school team on offense, defense or as a specialist, and have a history clear of disciplinary measures. Prior to playing against the Italian team, AFW players will also participate in educational tours of Rome, Vatican City, Tuscany, Siena, Florence, Cinque Terra, Lake Como and Milan.
“This was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. How many players will ever get the chance to play American football in another country?” said Panico. “I’m most looking forward to bonding with new teammates from all over the country in such a short amount of time, playing for my country, and getting to see what the skill level is of the Italian team.”
The Miller Place School District offers a robust athletic program that focuses on helping students improve their athletic ability and fitness in addition to their classroom performance, teamwork, confidence and leadership. Regular athletic activity and participation in school sports also improves memory, increases focus, and helps prevent depression.
“We’re extremely proud of Joe and wish him the best in Italy,” said Miller Place High School Football Coach Greg Murphy. “This opportunity will enable him to create lifelong connections and experience a different country and culture in person.”
American Football Worldwide is committed to providing growth experiences that impact its participants, combining the positive values developed through American football with the education and academic experiences international travel uniquely provides. AFW’s goal is to help young people channel their passion for football, propel them toward a greater understanding of our world, and explore new possibilities and dreams for their future.
“Assembling this team that will have the opportunity and responsibility to represent the USA and American football in Italy has been a rewarding experience in and of itself,” said AFW President Jim Barnes. “It is inspiring getting to know some incredibly ambitious young men and their supportive families who commit to make big dreams become reality. This international education and athletic tour will be a tremendous growth experience that will expand the horizons for these aspiring student-athletes. This journey will be used as a springboard that propels our AFW ELITE players to more success in college, collegiate football and in life.”