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American football in Europe

Nathan Yeloushan (second from left in the top row) plays football in Italy with his teammates from Siena Heights University. Photo provided (click for larger version)
July 02, 2014 - Linebacker Nathan Yeloushan used his football skills across the globe when he traveled to Italy, May 5-13.

Yeloushan, a 2013 Clarkston High School graduate, traveled with the Siena Heights University football team to play the Italian National team.

"It was pretty cool," he said about the experience playing his favorite sport in another country. "It was a lot of fun. We played in a professional soccer stadium because soccer is their big sport over there. I would say a couple of thousand people came out to watch us."

Siena Heights played one game against the Italian National Team and won 35-3, May 11.

Yeloushan's teammates wide receiver Raphael Dunson and running back Payton White scored two touchdowns each and tight end Donovan Campbell scored one touchdown.

Yeloushan noted the differences he noticed were the athletic skills and Italy wasn't as strong as the American team.

"They play American football rules," he added. "But they are not as advanced as us and they have same training and coaching."

He noted they are learning because the Italian National Team's coach is John Mackovic, a former National Football League coach.

Yeloushan admitted he didn't expect one day he would be playing football in Italy.

Siena Heights was chosen to go because one of the coaches knows one of the travel agents at Global Football.

"There are a bunch of teams from the US who go over to Europe," Yeloushan explained. "They will go and play."

The team did a lot of touring when they were playing football and visited five cities. They stayed in Rome for a few nights and also visited Florence.

"Playing college football was a big goal and a big dream of mine," he said. "Once that became realistic it was an amazing opportunity (to play in Italy). To be able to go over there with my teammates and my coaches and spend a week in Italy touring the cities and getting to play the sport I love over there is something I will never forget."

Yeloushan finished his freshman season with the Saints last fall as the team went 5-5 overall, which he noted was good because it was only the Saints third season.

"I got playing time as a freshman which is a big deal," he added. "It was good and a lot of fun."

Yeloushan is ready for his sophomore year to begin.

"We expect a lot of good things," he added. "Only six guys graduated so we are excited because next year will be really good."

The Saints open their season at Virginia Union on Sept. 6 and host their home opener against Saint Joseph's on Sept. 13.

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Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007. Follow Clarkston sports on Twitter @CNewsWRSports.
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