Viking Football Student-Athlete Wins Gold
By Andy Pulverenti, Missouri Valley Sports Information Director
Marshall, Mo. (July 17, 2014) - Missouri Valley College Freshman Safety Chandler Houtman (Owasso, Okla.) is coming home with a gold medal after playing in the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Championship in Kuwait City, Kuwait this month.
Houtman was one of 45 players that represented the United States at the 2014 IFAF Under-19 World Championship which consisted of an eight-team tournament featuring teams from the U.S.A., Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Kuwait and Mexico.
Houtman finished with 5.5 tackles, one interception and one pass break-up in the four victories. In pool play the US team defeated Mexico 49-14, Germany 54-0 and Japan 43-0. In the Gold Medal game, the United States knocked off Canada 40-17.
“I can’t even describe how it felt to represent the United States,” said Houtman. “Representing millions of people playing the sport that I love is something that is one of a kind.”
Houtman was selected to the Under-19 USA team in late May and joined the team for the first time for a training camp at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., in late June. From there Houtman and the United States team played four games at the IFAF Under-19 World Championship from July 8-16.
“The team came together at the start of camp just over three weeks ago as complete strangers,” said Houtman. “Now after everything is done, I feel like I’ve known each one of them my whole life. Even the coaches were amazed at how close we were as a group.”
Houtman also got the chance to interact with the people of Kuwait and learn about the country’s culture.
“Everyone in Kuwait has the greatest respect for Americans,” said Houtman. “They were all so nice and were always wanting to take pictures with us.”
USA Football is based out of Indianapolis, Ind., and is the sport's National governing body, leading the game's development for youth, high school and other amateur football players and is a nonprofit organization.
“Everyone in the Viking football program is really proud of Chandler and his accomplishments with the National team,” said Missouri Valley College Head Football Coach Paul Troth. “Chandler represented the country and the Viking program well. Not many people can say that they won a gold medal at a worldwide competition.”
The Missouri Valley College football season begins Sept. 13 with the HAAC/KCAC Challenge. The No. 7 Vikings will host No. 8 Tabor College (Kan.) at Gregg-Mitchell Field in Marshall, Mo., with kickoff at 6:00 p.m.