When Culver Military Academy football player Nick Mahalak ’15 (Monroe, Mich.) uploaded his highlight tape for recruiters to review, he was hoping to get a response.
He just didn’t expect to get an email from USA Football.
Mahalak has been selected to play on the U.S. U18 National Team. He was named to the team after the USA Football selection committee reviewed his tape. He then met with the USA Football evaluators, coaches, and staff. He flies out of Detroit today (Monday, Jan. 26) to join the team in Dallas.
“It was a total shock,” he said. “It came out of nowhere. I’m very excited. It’s a great opportunity.”
The National Team will compete against Canada in the 2015 International Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys. International Bowl week officially begins tonight with the team’s first practice and will culminate with the game against Team Canada at 8:30 p.m. (EST), Friday, Jan. 30. It will be digitally broadcast live on ESPN3.
Mahalak will be one of eight linebackers. He received the defensive playbook last week and it had 64 pages. “I’ve got a lot of studying to do,” he smiled. There will be the two-hour practice tonight, followed by six hours of practice and watching film on Tuesday and Wednesday, then walk-throughs on Thursday and Friday.
An inside linebacker for CMA during the season, Mahalak is anticipating moving to the outside for the International Bowl. But he’s not really worried about his position, he added, “I’m happy to be on the field.”
The head coach for the U18 National Team will be Aaron Ingram from the University of Nevada – Reno. Ingram has coached college football for 15 years and has worked within the National Team program for several years.
In order to play Mahalak had to receive permission from Culver Academies and the Indiana High School Athletic Association. When he returns he is planning to sign his National Letter of Intent to play football at NCAA Division I Butler University, a decision he just recently made. The first day to sign for the NLI is Wednesday, Feb. 4.
Right now, he is concentrating on getting back on the field.
“I’m really looking forward to representing Culver and my country,” he said. “Getting to play where the Cowboys play, that is going to be really nice.”