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American Football in Europe Offers Players and Coaches a Great Opportunity For Football and Travel
Most people in North America would be surprised to find that American football is booming all over the world, especially in Europe. For football coaches and players who like to travel, Europe offers a great opportunity with American football leagues almost everywhere. Although NFL Europe disbanded three years ago, interest in the game has grown steadily, with league games in countries like Germany attracting between 20,000 and 30,000 fans.
In fact, there are over 750 American football clubs in 28 countries, ranging from France and Italy to Hungary and Serbia. Each has at least three football divisions with an average of eight teams in each. Basically, you can’t find a country in Europe that doesn’t have an American football league.
Last fall, Jonathan Koidis was preparing to finish his college education and Canadian college football career at Queens University as an offensive right guard for the Queen’s University Gaels. The team went on to win the Vanier Cup, the Canadian College Championship, and with no career aspirations, Jon wanted to play another year or two. He registered with Europlayers (www.europlayers.com), and it didn’t take long for him to receive a few offers. He chose the Zurich Renegades of Switzerland playing in the Swiss first division.
“The team took me in February to one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen,” says Koidis. “They had arranged accommodation, transport and everything else and we went to the pitch in March for training. The season ends at the end of July but what a great experience I had. I didn’t expect to play again in football, let alone in Europe.”
The caliber of the game varies from country to country and sometimes from season to season. Import rules also vary. Germany, for example, allows more imports (split between North American and European imports) on the list and in the field. The seasons also change from country to country. For example, the Belgian season ends at the end of May while Finland, on the other hand, starts playing at that time.
Coaches, however, do not have to worry about import rules and more and more former professional, university and even high school football coaches are discovering the challenge and pleasure of coaching in Europe.
Texas’ Brian Gaylor is in his first year as coach of the German Fourth Division Lubeck Seals. “A good friend of mine who now coaches in Sweden, recommended the European Coaching Adventure to me,” says Galyor. “I signed up on the Europlayers site and within a short time got an offer from the Seals. I’m having a great time and plan to stay another two to three years.”
For interested coaches and players, the plan is simple. Sign up for Europlayers, follow the instructions under How to use Europlayers and find a team. The site makes it easy.
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