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Geoff Collins and Temple players are going to teach football in Japan

Temple head coach Geoff Collins and a group of eight Owls will take a 9-day trip across Japan later this month to teach American football in one of the game's growing markets.

In conjunction with Temple's School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Collins and the group will hold "several" football clinics at Hosei and Kansai universities and take visits to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. In addition to teaching football, the group will visit the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the University of Tokyo, a Tokyo Giants baseball game, a sumo wrestling tournament and other cultural touchstones.

“This trip is a tremendous learning opportunity for our student-athletes and coaches as well as a chance to showcase Temple University to an entirely new culture and nation,” Temple AD Dr. Patrick Kraft said. “Our students will learn about Japanese culture and customs while educating their hosts on the game of football. It is a win-win endeavor and I cannot wait to hear the stories upon their return.”

Japan is a burgeoning market for American football, particularly at the college level. The Japan American Football Association has overseen the game from the junior high to corporate level since 1984 and stages the Rice Bowl, the championship game between Japan's collegiate and corporate team champions. A number of American college games have been played in Japan over the years, dating back to 1976. Temple played in the second Japanese game, a 35-32 loss to Grambling in Tokyo.

Forty-four Japanese universities currently sponsor American football, spread across eight conferences.

“This is going to be a great experience for our players,” said Collins. “They’ve earned this opportunity by all they do for our university on the field, in the classroom, and in the great city of Philadelphia. Credit goes to Dr. Jordan, Dr. Funk, and Dr. Kraft and our great partners at TUJ and Dome Corporation for making this happen. I’m looking forward to experiencing a new culture and sharing our knowledge of football to those in Japan eager to learn. I know our players will have a great time and serve as tremendous ambassadors for Temple and our football program.”

The group embarks from Philadelphia on Friday, May 11 and returns on May 20. Temple will chronicle the journey on its athletics website and through its Twitter account.