Drew Rapps made a Green Machine football fan out of someone on the U19 Italian national team.

Drew Rapps made a Green Machine football fan out of someone on the U19 Italian national team.

Rapps was selected to represent his country as a part of the American Football Worldwide Elite team made up of players from across the nation including 16 different states.

The American players spent a week practicing together and seeing the sites in Italy before taking on the Italian national team on April 7.

The United States players were asked to bring football T-shirts to exchange with the Italian players.

Having outgrown his Green Machine shirt from his freshman year, Rapps donated the shirt along with a few others he had collected while going on college visits.

In this case, Rapps was able to impart a little bit of Geneseo football on Italy, but traveling the country of Italy and sightseeing every day during the weeklong trip left a lasting impression on him.

“I thought that after we left Rome the trip would die down,” Rapps said. “If anything it picked up, and we saw even more. It was an incredible experience. My parents and I are struggling to talk about all that we saw because there was just so much of it.”

Rapps would get up at 6 a.m. each day to practice with the team for about three hours.

The rest of the day was spent traveling all over Italy with his father Paul and mother Alisande as the team toured some of Italy’s most historic sites.

The group visited historically significant sites of art and architecture with stops at the Roman Colosseum, the piazzas of Rome, Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica, Sienna, Florence, Cinque Terre and Milan.

Rapps’ favorite stop was in Sienna in the Tuscany region.

“I really loved the history of that area,” Rapps said. “You would see a building that was brand new and right next to it is a building that has been there for a thousand years. It was really incredible to see the difference.”

The trip concluded with the game against the Italian team at Franco Ossola Sports Center in Varese.

Wearing his yellow and green Geneseo helmet, Rapps led the American team in rushing with 11 carries for 71 yards as the Americans defeated Italy 28-7.

“It was a good team,” Rapps said. “This was the best Italian team Coach (Jim Barnes) has ever seen. It was a fun competitive game.”

Rapps enjoyed the atmosphere from the energy of the Italian fans to the stadium which neighbored a nearby mountain range.

A senior, Rapps believes the adventure to Italy will benefit him as he makes the transition to Hope College, in Michigan, this fall.

“It was a great experience to not know anyone and go across the country with them,” Rapps said. “It’s a nice taste of what college life will be like.”

And Rapps wants to be able to explore Italy again someday.

“I love the history of Italy and the history of Europe,” Rapps said. “I would love to see Italy again.”

Who knows, maybe he will run into someone wearing a Green Machine shirt.