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Rams host 55th annual Friendship Bowl & extend youth football efforts to Mexico

The Los Angeles Rams hosted the 55th annual Friendship Bowl at Birmingham High School in Los Angeles on Saturday, Dec. 16. The event featured all-star girls' flag and youth football teams from Central Mexico, competing against local teams from Los Angeles. The players that curated the all-star teams from Mexico were selected from five states within Central Mexico including Estado de Mexico, Mexico City, Pachuca de Soto, Tamaulipas and Querétaro.

The four-day experience also included a tour of SoFi Stadium provided by the Rams, tickets to the Rams victory over the Washington Commanders and a private football clinic.

Alberto Silva, head of partnerships and public relations for the Friendship Bowl, mentioned it was majority of the athletes first experience in a different country and it was important to expose them to the background of American football.

The Friendship Bowl consisted of five total games, with two being girls' flag matchups. The athletes embraced the pride of representing their countries and fans were able to show passion and pride as both countries' national anthems and flags were presented before the games.

Rams director of social justice and football development, Johnathan Franklin, reflected on this being most of the athletes first time meeting people from a different country and how they all put their best foot forward to not only compete at an elite level but also to connect with one another. "To think the team representing Mexico didn't speak English, but yet at the end of each game able to engage, laugh, and pay their respect to the other teams."

As part of the Friendship Bowl, the Rams hosted more than 140 youth athletes from Central Mexico at SoFi Stadium for a private tour. Franklin welcomed attendees and led the tours alongside Rams youth engagement coaches. In addition, participants had photo opportunities with the Rams' Super Bowl XXXIV and Super Bowl LVI trophies in the team's locker room.

When describing the importance of exposure to football players and coaches in the United States, 16-year-old girls' flag football player, Regina Colmenero, said, "They have very talented players and they're very hard working. I value that because I really want to study here [for] college."

This was the first year the Rams hosted the Friendship Bowl, and it featured eight teams and more than 300 youth athletes.

Franklin explained the intention of extending football development internationally. He said the goal of hosting the Friendship Bowl was "to help give [the athletes] the resources necessary to get to the elite level when it comes to football." He added that it's important for the Rams to use their resources to help young athletes perfect their craft.

To culminate the four-day experience, the Rams hosted a youth football clinic for the Friendship Bowl participants from Central Mexico. The clinic featured structured football fundamental teachings and competition-based drills led by Rams youth engagement coaches. The Rams also provided giveaways including Super Bowl LVI hats to the youth participants.

Matias Perez, 15-year-old tackle football player, said, "It's been amazing meeting new friends, meeting new coaches and being able to play football in the country where football was created. It's an amazing experience for me."

Reflecting on growing the game of football and bringing youth athletes together, Franklin added, "It shows the beauty of this game, how it really unites communities and countries together."

For more information about the Rams' community outreach efforts, visit

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