Algarve, Portugal - American Football Without Barriers (AFWB), a nonprofit created by former Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge, Houston Texans tackle Breno Giacomini and Yum Brands engineer Ahmed Awadallah, to teach American football to men, women and children around the world, will host its sixth-annual football camp March 10-11 in Algarve, Portugal.
Barnidge will lead a contingent of 15 current and former NFL players who will split time between Lisbon and the Algarve region in Portugal. The list of additional players scheduled to attend includes former Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame wide receiver Andre Reed; Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch; former Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams; Indianapolis Colts defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Jabaal Sheard; Colts defensive backs Chris Milton and Matthias Farley; Browns quarterback Kevin Hogan; Atlanta Falcons guard Ben Garland; New England Patriots defensive back Johnson Bademosi; Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix and tight end Xavier Grimble; Texans quarterback Josh Johnson, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints fullback Erik Lorig.
This year’s AFWB camp is being hosted by the Algarve Sharks, a member of the Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano (LPFA). Algarve is currently in the early stages of raising funds to build Europe’s first-ever American-football-only stadium and Portugal will join China (2013), Brazil (2014), Turkey (2015), Egypt (2016) and Finland (2017) as countries that have hosted AFWB camps.
“We are honored to have NFL players take time out of their busy offseason to come spread American football across Portugal,” said Algarve Sharks Coach Lance Heron. “It is the first time we can remember this many NFL players coming to our country. We feel blessed they are willing to commit their time to grow American football as well as highlight Portugal’s nonprofits that are doing great work in our community.”
“It is our mission to visit countries where the NFL has not invested heavily to help grow the sport,” added Barnidge. “It’s a great privilege to use our platform as current and former NFL players to help grow the sport we love, as well as use the media exposure to highlight nonprofits that are helping to improve the lives of future generations.”
In total, the AFWB contingent will spend eight days in Portugal from March 7-14. The group will be in Lisbon for various activities March 7-8 and 13-14, and in Algarve for the camps March 9-12. A number of community events have been embedded in the group’s schedule, including a visit to a NATO air base, a visit with victims of the deadly 2017 wildfires that ravaged Portugal, and a visit to a Portuguese orphanage and home for neglected children. The actual football camps will take place March 10-11 in Faro, the capital of Portugal’s Algarve region. There will be a total of five sessions, including a coaching clinic.
The 2018 AFWB football camp is presented by lead sponsors TAP Air Portugal and Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort. Additional partners include The Algarve Sharks, The U.S. Embassy Portugal and Sport TV. Supporting sponsors include Tivoli Hotels and Resorts, AlgarExperience, Fundacao Luso Americano, Jambo Athletic, GridironMVP Bionutrients and Spikes Restaurant in Bale do Lobo. AFWB team sponsors include BeastMode Apparel and The DeAngelo Williams Foundation.
“We are fortunate that so many great brands recognize the impact we are having on lives across the world,” explained Giacomini. “It is because of these generous sponsors that we are able to conduct free American football camps around the world and bring attention to the many nonprofits that serve these amazing countries we visit.”