Sports Diplomacy with American Football and Coaches from Russia


In October, Marla Axelrod, director of Legal and Government Affairs for the Philadelphia Eagles gave Russian football coaches and managers the experience of a lifetime by treating them to a VIP tour of Lincoln Financial Field.

While preparations for a home game were happening all around, Norman Vossschulte, director of Guest Experience, and Christian Molnar, director of Team Relationships, showed our delegates the locker room, the training areas and, most importantly, the field where we all get pumped up to win!

To round out their visit, the Philadelphia Phantomz, a women’s semi-pro American Football team, talked business with delegates. University of Pennsylvania treated our coaches to a behind the-scenes pre-game program, including a meeting with Head Coach Ray Priore, before watching a game against Brown University with Russian-speaking students and faculty. The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation talked about their co-ed youth flag football league that has been running for over 20 years. Finally, CCS Fundraising discussed revenue-generating strategies.

Philadelphians were fascinated to meet our international visitors and hear how they caught the football bug, especially given how hard it can be to access NFL or NCAA games in remote areas. The Russian coaches were incredibly knowledgeable about the Eagles, showing that language and cultural barriers are no match for passionate players and fans. Personal interactions like this help shape the United States’ reputation around the world and also gave Philadelphians an international perspective on a very American pastime.

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