Five years ago this month, the United Arab Emirates Falcons of the American Football League won their first and only International Super Bowl Division championship in Orlando, Florida.
“It was one of my fondest memories of playing football in Dubai and the experience gave me the confidence and ambition to pursue my dream of playing major college football in the United States,” recalls Adam. Babb.
Babb was a regular face of the Emirates American Football League, having completed six seasons as a member of the Dubai Stallions and representing the UAE Falcons in various international matches.
He is now a member of the Arizona State University (ASU) football team that will face the University of Wisconsin in the Las Vegas Bowl on December 30.
For Babb, who specializes in business and tourism, gambling is a bit of a homecoming.
âHaving access to several sports and then an introduction to football in Dubai has been a blessing for me, honestly,â he said.
âMy dad sent me to Las Vegas for high school because he realized it would be the best opportunity for me to go to Division 1 college football.
âI thought I had the potential to play at this level when I entered high school. The league I played in Dubai as a kid gave me the confidence and experience, and the opportunity to travel to the United States, China, Singapore, Ukraine and many more. places.
The jump is no small feat for Babb, 18, as only a small group of internationally-born players are included in Division 1 college football rosters each year.
There are over a million high school players in the United States and of those 10,000 – less than one percent – go to play Division 1 college football. Less than 200 of those 10,000 are from countries other than United States.
âMy teammate Peizhang Jackson He became the first Chinese national in NCAA Division 1 college football history to score a touchdown in a game last year,â Babb said.
âASU is very open and receptive to players of international origin and that helped me in my recruitment. I was able to reach Division 1 level through hard work and self-confidence which is the spirit I grew up in Dubai.
âThe opportunity to play for Coach Herm Edwards at Arizona State University has been a dream come true and I am taking full advantage of it.
âOur coaches are all from the NFL and my special team coach Shawn Slocumb won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers. So I really get the best of coaching and development at ASU.
âI love my teammates. They are all very united and the campus is amazing. The game day environment is electric and running around the pitch in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans is such a rush that you can only hope to do your best for them.
Babb’s father James, who has worked in Dubai for 16 years and is now a Golden Visa resident, said growing up in a sporting environment in Dubai pays rich dividends.
“For him, the sporting environment was exceptional in the United Arab Emirates,” he said. âHe has had the opportunity to compete in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, baseball and American football, and has traveled internationally to compete successfully in all of these sports.
“It really gave him the confidence that he could make the jump to the big stage in the United States.”
Babb has big ambitions to move his game forward and maybe thinks he can one day reach the NFL and play professionally.
âI’m focused on the next four years, doing my best for Arizona State. I don’t think I’m close to reaching my potential yet, “he added.
âIf my performance turns out to be good enough after graduation, I would love the opportunity to compete at the NFL level.
âThe Las Vegas Raiders are my favorite pro team and I just graduated high school at Allegiant Stadium six months ago and now I’m back for the bowl game.
âIt could be a sign of things to come. I will continue to work hard and believe that good things will continue to happen, as they have so far.
Update: December 25, 2021, 8:56 a.m.