It’s not everyday an athlete has the chance to play for their country.
And it’s even more rare to have the chance at only 15.
But for John Tryhub, he’ll have that opportunity when he represents Team Canada from Dec. 1 to Dec. 9 in the International Friendship Bowl as part of the 2012 Pop Warner Super Bowl in Kissimmee, Fla.
“It’s going to be the experience of a lifetime,” Tryhub said of playing for Team Canada.
Tryhub will be one of the 33 players helping Team Canada attempt to avenge their overtime loss last year when they fell 22-14 to Panama in the gold medal game.
They’ll play three teams - Mexico, Japan and Panama - in their attempt to capture gold.
For most kids, they get started with football early in life, but for Tryhub he had a late start to the game at 11 years old when his dad, Steve, signed him up for the Lucas Hammers in the London Minor Football Association.
It was there he first began taking snaps.
“At the practices (coaches) saw the potential of my arm and they kept progressing everything from there,” Tryhub said of becoming a quarterback. “Now I know when to throw it with proper timing and the arc each throw needs.”
Growing up, Tryhub modeled his game off former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
“I thought he was a great player and since he was a quarterback it helped,” Tryhub said. “He was always good at running and passing and I love being able to run or pass and be able to look down the field for an open player. I can relate to him in that way.”
After one year in London, he played with the Woodstock Minor Football Association for two seasons, who helped teach him the fundamentals of the game.
“It was good. They taught me everything I know,” Tryhub said of his experience with the WMFA. “It’s really what got me into football. They’re good coaches.”
Tryhub, a Grade 10 student, now plays with the senior team at St. Mary’s High School and the London Jr. Mustangs of the Ontario Varsity Football League, where he was voted MVP his first year with the team two years ago.
It was his time with the Jr. Mustangs that earned him a tryout for the International Bowl before finding out on Oct. 27 he had made the team.
“I was pretty excited,” he said with a smile.
He’ll also be joined by a few teammates from the Jr. Mustangs.
His main position is quarterback, but he also plays strong safety on defence and sees time on the field with the special teams unit. Although few players will complain about playing time, there’s only one position he was meant to play.
“I just love being quarterback,” he said. “It’s the guy commanding the offence and making the plays.”
And for the future, there’s only one goal in mind.
“Try to go all the way,” he said. “To get into university and get a scholarship and hopefully keep going from there.”
It’s his hope one day to play for Western University because of the perennial contenders coached by Greg Marshall in the Mustangs football program.
In his short time in the game he said that all the teams he’s played for have contributed to getting him to play at an international level.
“What really got me there is all the leagues I’ve played in (Woodstock, London, OVFL and high school) and the coaches who helped me,” Tryhub said. “Everyone’s helped me get here.”
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