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St. Norbert College to play football game in Dublin, Ireland in 2012

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From St. Norbert College, March 8, 2011
by Mike Counter,, (920) 403-3089

St. Norbert College will face John Carroll (Ohio) University in Dublin, Ireland, in its 2012 season opener as part of the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT). The game, scheduled for August 31, 2012, will mark the first NCAA Division III game played in Europe since 1992.

The game marks the first time St. Norbert will compete intercollegiately outside of North America, and only the second time any team will have played outside of the continental United States. The St. Norbert hockey team played at Alaska-Fairbanks in 1997. The trip will be financed through private funding and no college operating funds will be used.

"St. Norbert College is extremely excited to partner with a fellow Catholic institution in John Carroll University in this event," St. Norbert president Thomas Kunkel said. "This is a great opportunity not only for our football program but for the college overall."

The St. Norbert-John Carroll game, with the venue still to be determined, is the only college game played as part of GIFT. At least three American high school games will also be played that weekend at various locations around Dublin. All teams participating in GIFT will have an opportunity to attend the Notre Dame-Navy game on September 1, 2012 in Dublin.

"This will be a wonderful educational opportunity for our student-athletes, and I am appreciative of our administration for supporting this endeavor," St. Norbert football coach Jim Purtill said. "This experience will be great for those who might not normally get a chance to travel abroad in not only an athletic setting but an educational one as well."

The Global Ireland Football Tournament is planned by Global Football, a Texas-based company which oversees several overseas trips for college football teams.

"After a year of planning, GIFT 2012 is now becoming a reality, and is already much bigger than I had anticipated," Global Football president Patrick Steenberge said. "Through the help of American football leaders in Ireland, we have found a number of top quality stadiums which are eager to host our games. Since there currently are no high school or junior-level league teams there, it will be a chance for the American coaches and players who travel to Ireland to demonstrate their abilities to passionate Irish sports fans and media."
St. Norbert is 107-21 in 12 years under Purtill and has won 13 Midwest Conference championship since joining the league in 1984. The Green Knights have made nine NCAA Division III Playoff appearances.

The only Norbertine college in the world, St. Norbert is a four-year, Catholic liberal arts college, devoted to the Norbertine traditions of community, prayer and service to others. Founded in 1898 by Abbot Bernard Pennings as a school to prepare men for the priesthood, St. Norbert College became coeducational in 1952. Today the residential campus serves about 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students hailing from throughout the United States and more than 30 countries, and offers study abroad opportunities in 37 countries.

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