Representing USA Football
Waldorf resident Drayton plays in International Bowl in Dallas
St. Mary’s Ryken High School sophomore defensive back Michael Drayton Jr., a Waldorf resident, had the chance of a lifetime and he cherished every minute of it.
Drayton was chosen to play in the USA Football Association’s International Bowl VIII at AT&T Sta- dium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas, as its 17-and-Under USA team took on Ja- pan on Jan. 16.
Drayton, who has been playing football since he was 9 years old, went to a football camp that was held at Towson Univer- sity where he caught the eye of some of the USA Football coaches.
“I was really aggressive with my corner back play when I was at the camp,” Drayton said. “It was a good experience for me and a confidence builder. I got to bond with the Japanese players and my team- mates and get a chance to play football. The experience gave me more confi- dence in myself that I can now play at a higher level, the next level.”
Drayton gave credit to all of his football coaches along the way who have motivated him to be the player he is now with a vi- sion for the future.
“My strength coach Ricky Tripplet and my cornerback coach Nana Ansah and the entire St. Mary’s Ryken coaching staff played a huge part of my success on the foot- ball field,” he said.
Drayton is hoping that more doors will now open for him since playing in the International Bowl VIII.
“I want to be able to play football for the rest of my life,” Drayton said.
Drayton plays offense and defense but prefers defense and contact.
Drayton’s father, Michael Drayton Sr. traveled with his son to Texas and said the entire experience was rewarding.
“It was very well orga- nized,” Drayton Sr. said. “It was great to see the kids get to play against kids from another country and get them into their culture. The culture was great; ev- erything was very struc- tured. Dallas stadium, AT&T Stadium, is great.
“It was a great overall experience. I think he got more confidence playing with kids that are more experienced and that I’m sure have college offers. Just competing with them and showing them that he can play with them.”
Drayton Sr. said the experience propelled his son to live up to the hype.
“I think it gave him the extra boost to say, ‘Yes I am as good as they say I am’.”
The USA team, coached by Gabe Infante, who is the head coach at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, defeated Japan 44-7. The USA team scored 35 unanswered points in the first half.
“We had scrimmaged the day prior and Japan looked real good, but the USA team demolished them,” Drayton Sr. said. “They were great people and the kids really enjoyed the entire experience.”
St. Mary’s Ryken sophomore Michael Drayton Jr., a Waldorf resident, lines up against Japan in the International Bowl VIII, which was played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 16. Drayton and the 17-and-Under USA Football team won 44-7.