Connor Patterson knows his 10-day trip to France will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And while he will soak up all that the country has to offer, it is also a trip about football.
Patterson, a tight end from Wilson High School, was selected to a U.S. high school scholastic all-star team, sponsored by American Football Worldwide. That team will play the under-19 national team from France on March 30 in Paris.
“I went online to ... see a couple of USA uniforms. It is pretty cool with the red, white and blue,” Patterson said. “It is kind of a shocking thing for me. I did not think I would be representing the whole USA. I am just used to (representing) my high school.”
All of this started in December, when Patterson started an online recruiting profile with National College Scouting Association, an organization that has been around since 2000.
In January, AFW coach Jim Barnes contacted Patterson about the possibility of him being selected to the 35-man roster for the U.S. team.
“I was surprised it was me that he chose over any other kid on the (NCSA) website,” Patterson said. “There are thousands of kids on it.”
Because the players selected would be paying their own way, Patterson talked it over with his family. They all agreed it would be a worthwhile experience.
Half the team is slated to meet in Chicago this weekend and fly to Paris together. The other half, including Patterson, will fly directly to France and meet the team there. Patterson, accompanied by his family, leaves from Sea-Tac Airport on Saturday morning.
Once there, the U.S. team is expected to hold up to five practices before the game.
That is something Patterson will sorely need because the last time he put on a uniform was in November at the end of the high school season. He was an all-Narrows second-team selection at linebacker and tight end as a senior.
“Once you put the pads on,” Patterson said, “it will kick in.”
As part of his cross-training, Patterson – a Class 3A state contender in the discus – has been “doing sprints with the 100-meter guys and lifting twice a day” to get in better football shape.
As far as U-19 team from France, Patterson has been given a brief scouting report by his U.S. coaches: The French do not throw the football much.
Patterson is down to choosing among Western Washington, Lewis & Clark, Willamette and Pacific for college.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com blogs.thenewstribune.com @ManyHatsMilles