Temple senior Michael Dogbe is excited about seeing a new culture and helping further educate others about football.
Dogbe, a defensive lineman, is among eight Owls players, in addition to coach Geoff Collins and several staff members, who will leave Friday for a nine-day trip to Japan, where they will help grow the game.
"I am excited to go there and to learn about their culture, as well," Dogbe said in a recent phone interview. "It is my first time outside of the U.S., and I want to see what else is out there."
The seniors joining Dogbe are quarterback Frank Nutile and offensive lineman Jaelin Robinson. The juniors are linebacker Shaun Bradley, cornerback Linwood Crump, and receiver Isaiah Wright. Sophomores on the trip will be defensive lineman Dan Archibong and center Matt Hennessey.
Collins originally was asked to travel to Japan and provide football coaching clinics on player safety, but the endeavor grew from there.
The eight players also will be earning three college credits for a summer course titled "Sport, Culture and Tourism in Japan," taught by Daniel Funk.
In addition to providing several football clinics, the class will take trips to three cities: Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
The itinerary includes visiting the U.S. Embassy and the University of Tokyo, and seeing a Tokyo Giants baseball game, a sumo wrestling tournament, several temples and shrines, and Dome Corporation headquarters. Dome Corporation is the exclusive licensee and distributor for Under Armour in Japan. In 2015, Temple signed a 10-year deal for $30 million with Under Armour to provide uniforms, apparel and footwear for the university's 19 varsity sports teams.
Temple has a school in Japan, appropriately named Temple University in Japan. The enrollment is approximately 1,100.
"They don't have a sports program at all," said Jeremy Jordan, Temple's associate dean of the school of sport, tourism and hospitality management and an NCAA faculty athletics representative who will accompany the Owls on the trip. "We are working with them and some research they are doing."
Jordan said the trip came about because of his role as a member of the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple.
"We have been working on a project on how a new model college athletics can be changed in Japan," Jordan said. "They were very interested in the U.S. model, and through that time, the relationship has grown."
Jordan said the eight football players were chosen for the trip "based on exemplary academic performance, leadership and service to Temple and the larger community."
Collins views this as a great learning experience for all involved.
"I'm looking forward to experiencing a new culture and sharing our knowledge of football to those in Japan eager to learn," Collins said in a statement released by the school. "I know our players will have a great time and serve as tremendous ambassadors for Temple and our football program."