Showcasing a nation in Texas

Chris Osei-Kusi represents Canada U19s

Chris Osei-Kusi poses at midfield of AT&T Stadium.
Chris Osei-Kusi poses at midfield of AT&T Stadium.
Credit: 
Supplied by Chris Osei-Kusi

While Richardson Stadium undergoes construction, Queen’s receiver Chris Osei-Kusi has found another football field: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

Home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, the ground played host at the end of January to the International Bowl — a series of exhibition games between Canada and the United States’ top U19 football players. In his first year with Queen’s, Osei-Kusi was the lone representative for the Gaels on the roster. 

“Just being selected to play for my country was an amazing feeling,” he said, “I was honoured to be one of the few players selected.” 

The selection came following a season in which Osei-Kusi established himself as one of the Gaels’ surest future contributors. He made three catches throughout the season, and scored one touchdown with a 42-yard punt return. He was also chosen for the OUA all-rookie team in recognition of his strong offensive contributions following the season.

During the exhibition game, Osei-Kusi made one catch for the Canadian team. Though Canada lost — after a 33-0 shutout by an American team with many players being scouted to play professionally — he said his time in Texas will impact his game in the upcoming seasons. 

“The whole week preparing for the International Bowl was full of learning experiences,” he said. 

While he noted many positives, including the chance to play against some of the highest-level athletes in the continent, it was also challenging. At practices, for instance, he said he would often feel “frustrated or overwhelmed”, but the tough week of training in the build-up to the game taught him to overcome those thoughts.

“[The tough practices will have] a direct correlation with my football future,” he said. 

With the game played on American ground, the Canadian players had to adapt their style to slightly different rules. The field was also shorter than the standard Canadian football ground, measuring only 100 yards as opposed to 110. Other than these differences, Osei-Kusi said the game was similar to those he played at Queen’s. 

“Of course it was nerve-racking playing where the Dallas Cowboys play,” he said. “But as the game went on, it was just football.”

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