ECJ2000: State Secretary lends support to championships

Category: - published 2000-07-27 by EFAF

Berlin State Secretary for Youth, School and Sport FRANK EBEL has given his support to the EFAF Wilson European Junior Championships 2000, which kick off on Sunday, July 30 in the German capital.

Six nations will contest the fifth championships as Germany defends the title it won in 1998 with group games against Great Britain and Finland, while beaten finalist France takes on Austria and Russia in the other group. The group winners will meet at the Jahnstadion in Berlin on Saturday, August 5.

Speaking at a press conference Mr Ebel said: "The city of Berlin is proud and happy to host this tournament. We want the players from all over Europe to feel at home here in Berlin. Football is an exciting sport which hopefully will continue to attract more and more fans."

EFAF President REIJO AILASMAA added: "I am happy to be back in Berlin. I have good memories of the city. When I was president of the Finnish Football Federation we won the title here in 1994.

"This year Finland lost one of their best players, but for good reasons as he earned a scholarship to the University of Nebraska. This weakens the team, so in Group One I think Germany is the favourite. Group Two should be a very close decision."

Leading Germany as he did when victorious two years ago, quarterback DENNIS ZIMMERMANN returns to centre stage with retaining the trophy naturally his priority. "We are ready to defend our title," he announced. "But it will be much tougher than in 1998. From what I have heard all the teams are strong. We added some speed to our defense so we will be prepared."

One of Zimmermann's targets will be wide receiver TIM FRIEDRICH, who recently attended Florida State University's summer football camp as part of the NFL Futures initiative.

"There still is a big difference between the Americans and us," he said. "The game over there is much faster and intense and it was a great experience for me. Now I'm looking forward to representing my country again bringing back some of the things I leaned in Florida."

Director of Football Development for NFL Europe MARSHALL HAPPER looked forward to events in Germany, adding: "We have more than 350 people from players to staff members coming to Berlin.

"I expect a lot of exciting games. The level of playing improves from year to year and I am sure that during this championship you will see future stars of NFL Europe."

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