Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Brayden Wood has built quite a resume in a short amount of time, and it started way before he played his first football game for Fairview as a freshman this past season.
Over the past month, long after the Knights stellar campaign was done, Wood has continued to find ways to build on an impressive list of achievements.
This week, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound tight end/defensive end is in Arlington, Texas preparing for one of those chance-of-a-lifetime experiences — playing at AT&T Stadium in Arlington as part of the USA Football International Bowl IX.
The International Bowl is a series of age-group football games against teams from other countries, and only 50 players are selected for each age-group team.
For Wood, this comes on the heels of a trip to Naples, Florida, to participate in the Football University Freshman Army All-American Game back on December 17. FBU helps sponsor the touted U.S. Army All-American Game played annually in San Antonio.
“It’s been really crazy, but I’ve been really enjoying it,” Wood said just prior to leaving for Dallas this past weekend. “This game coming up means a lot to me personally, just because both of my grandparents were in the military and to play for your country representing one of the great sports here in the U.S. gives me a lot of pride.”
Being selected to both the FBU All-American Game and the USA Football International Bowl is no small feat. Only 70 players nationally are selected for the former and just 700 players (among 14 age-group teams from 14U up to 19U) are selected.
Fairview rising senior Matt Greenwald was also selected to play — it was his third time selected.
While some of the International Bowl games have already taken place, Wood will play in the U-16 National level game at noon on Friday at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. They play a team from Mexico, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Wood was eager to participate from the standpoint of being an ambassador of the game to players from countries like Canada, Japan and the Nordic region (comprised of Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden).
“It’s amazing what a team sport can do to create strong bonds,” Wood said. “We’ll get to scrimmage a couple of other teams, and I hope that we’ll be able to stay in the same hotels and get to meet a lot of them.”
Like a lot of young players these days, 7-on-7 exposure camps are the rage and Wood has made sure to get out to as many of those as he can. He has dropped the other sports he previously participated in to focus on football, and it has seemed to pay off.
Earlier this week, Wood tweeted: “Wow God Is Good! Very blessed to have received my first D1 scholarship to play football at the University of Texas Tech.”