Burrell football coach Shawn Liotta leads national team to International Bowl win

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Friday, January 24, 2020 | 5:05 PM


Burrell football coach Shawn Liotta is known around the WPIAL for his creative offensive mind.

But over the past few years, Liotta has started to gain attention at the national level. Aaron Ingram, the director of the U.S. national team, has been trying to get Liotta involved with the USA Football program in some way, shape or form.

Liotta participated in a regional camp in Canton, Ohio, this past summer and was eventually chosen to be the offensive coordinator for the USA Football U-18 team in the International Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, last week.

“Shawn was just one of those guys last year, in his first year, that joined us and I’ve been trying to get him for a couple of years,” Ingram said. “I’ve loved what he’s done offensively, and we were really excited to get him involved with the program.”

Led by a highly creative offensive gameplan from Liotta, Team USA beat Team Canada 29-15 to pull within one game of tying up the all-time series between the teams. Team Canada currently leads, 6-5.

“It was a blast,” Liotta said. “I got to work with a bunch of great kids, great coaches from all over the country, college guys, high school guys. But just being able to do that and have that experience and have the opportunity to be a part of USA Football was a very rewarding experience.”

Just like the players that are selected, the coaches that participate in the games travel to regional camps, like the one Liotta coached at in Canton, and are evaluated by Ingram’s USA Football staff. From there, coaches are selected to help direct camps or participate with USA Football at a number of levels.

Liotta was brought in for his offensive mind and his ability to connect with players and coaches. His offensive creativity stood out last week as players and coaches drooled over a play Liotta drew up on fourth down for a big gain.

“That was a lot of fun, and I must’ve drawn that play up at least 100 times for coaches afterward,” Liotta said. “They saw it, and they kept asking me to draw it up. So it was really fun and an honor to represent the school district and the Burrell program on a stage like that.”

Ingram said seeing Liotta’s offense in action was pretty electrifying.

“That stuff is cutting edge, and the first time I saw it, I just had a big smile on my face,” Ingram said. “I think flat out, in that game — don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of pretty talented players — but I do think we out-coached them, which is great, and Shawn was a big part of that.”

Liotta wasn’t the only WPIAL coach to participate in the International Bowl. Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the U-19 national team that beat Panama, 67-0.

Ingram said he believes the success Liotta and Kasperowicz had shows what type of coaches Western Pennsylvania has.

“There is just outstanding teaching happening in Western Pennsylvania,” Ingram said.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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