The number of players that have benefited from playing football in Europe and from the connections made through Europlayers are far more than most people realize. Read on.
- I-Team Profile
- Spanish Champions: L’Hospitalet Pioners (Barcelona – Spain)
- British Champions: Cassidy Jets (Coventry – United Kingdom)
- II-Country updates
- III-Player Profile
- IV-Game Results
Spanish Champions: L’Hospitalet Pioners (Barcelona – Spain)
As the L’Hospitalet Pioners
enter their 21st season, as Spanish league champions for the second time in four years, as well as Spanish Cup winners, they can look back on a wonderful history in European American football. Founded in 1988 by Juan Jimenez, who went on to become the first Spanish coach to serve with the NFL Europe Barcelon Dragons, the team struggled . However, in 1991, Armando Andres assumed control of the club putting the foundation together for the future success of the team. Building an under 18 squad in 1993, Andres helped guide the young team to Spanish league titles three years running. He then placed a second senior team in the second division for young players to gain experience.This strategy paid off as the first senior team became regular playoff contenders. Last season was the most successful in Pioners history as the team with a record of 15 and 1 won the league championship, the Spanish Cup and the Catalan Cup while also scoring its first victory in the European Championships.Going in to the 2009 season, the Pioners look forward to another run at the league title.
British Champions: Cassidy Jets (Coventry – United Kingdom)
The Cassidy Jets
of Coventry, England, champions of the BAFL (British American Football League) in 2008 enter their 25th season looking forward to continuing their success.The team opens on the road against the Zurich Renegades. General Manager Will White, a native of Georgia, is enthusiastic. “We look forward to playing teams on the continent in preparation for the EFL (European) championships.”Head Coach Jim Roberson is a highly successful coaching veteran and after playing in the Canadian Football League, moved to Great Britain becoming one of the most sought after American football coaches there. He has been highly successful. Apart from working with the Portsmouth Warriors and London Olympians
(formerly perennial British champions), Roberson has previously served as head coach with the Brighton B52s, Winchester Rifles and most recently the Southern Sundevils
The team has had a long history in American football. Formed in 1984 in Coventry as the Warwickshire Bears, the current Coventry Jets have undergone the ups and downs, literally, of the BAFL. Despite, at times, spectacular success, the team was forced to fold in 2002 to be resurrected in 2003 as the Coventry Jaguars. After reorganizing the team the quality of play grew and in 2005 the club, now known as the Jets went undefeated. The following season saw the same type of success after the Jets attracted an excellent roster. With a schedule that always included top European teams, Coventry has laid the groundwork for a top American football team.
Over the course of the following three years, the Jets have become perennial BAFL favorites and champions in 2008.
Entering 2009 General Manager Will White is quietly confident. He was recruited to the team in 2005 and continues to play while also managing the team. “We open again on the continent April 18. I am aiming to capture another BAFL title while making a run for the European championship.” says White.
American football is thriving in Serbia and with crowds of almost 2,000 per game and a roster of 70, the Kragujevac Wild Boars
are determined to become a force in Europe. After only six years of competitive American football, the country is on a meteoric rise. The Wild Boars are now at the forefront of the football revolution in Serbia.Led by quarterback and offensive coordinator Stan Bedwell
an Arkansas native whose school career included high school and small college titles, the Wild Boars won the Serbian championship in 2008. “People are not aware of the ambition of this country in terms of American football.” said Bedwell, fresh off a 42-0 thumping of the Kraljevo Royal Crowns after defeating the Belgrade Blue Dragons
28-21 the week before.” I have played in Switzerland, Spain and Finland but I have never seen such dedication by both players and teams alike.”Serbia is determined to build a powerful American football and they are basing it on the very successful Austrian model. Despite only six years of experience they are catching up. One expert who had watched several different European teams play ranks the Serbians Wild Boars among the top 20 in Europe. In fact, the Wild Boars and four other Serbian teams will have a chance to prove themselves on the international level in 2009. Kragujevac will join the Klek Knights, Vrbas Hunters
, and Pancevo Panthers
in the inaugural EFAF Challenge Cup, which also features teams from Italy, Poland, and Hungary. The Belgrade Blue Dragons will compete in the EFAF Cup this year.
Bedwell was caught on a Saturday night following a victory heading off to watch the game film. That is dedication.
has played at the highest level of football but would not trade anything for his experiences playing American football in Europe. This native of California took the long road, first playing at a junior college before ending up at Eastern Oregon playing both defense and special teams while earning his degree in business.After testing the waters of the Canadian Football League he decided on Germany by contacting Europlayers
and played the 2006 season in Lubeck where he set German League rushing records. In 2007, he signed with perennial Italian champion Bergamo
helping them to capture another trophy. Last season, he rushed for 42 touchdowns in Finland as the Helsinki Wolverines
advanced to the Finnish semifinals.”I cannot believe that I am still playing this game I love while enjoying the experience of living in other countries,” he said. During the 2008 season in Finland he won the league scoring title accumulating more than 300 points (unheard of for a running back) and over his three year career in Europe he has amassed almost 8,000 yards rushing.
Stephen is further proof that football careers thrive in Europe.
Don’t forget to send us your game results if you want them to be listed on Europlayers. You can also see them online on this page.
Next month look for regular updates on all teams and features on teams from Ireland, Austria and Finland.
As usual, do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions, suggestions or general feedback to improve the newsletter and the website. In fact we encourage players, teams and personnel to provide ideas and information.