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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bad news always travels faster than the good news. Over the past few years, we wrote about teams that don't hold up on their part of the deal, however, it's time to highlight the ones which do. We'll be featuring 3 teams each week, regardless of the division they're playing in, selected by the import community as a safe bet, in hopes to help both coaches and imports when making a decision on joining an organization.


KANGOUROUS DE PESSAC, FRANCE

Photo: Sports Emotions
Walter Wayne, RB - Kangs in France is a very young team, I first got there in 2011. They take pride in their imports. They also have a French/ American coach and he makes sure all the imports are comfortable. They honor the contract fully.

They even paid me extra for all my hard work on and off the field and for leading the team to the championship. I didn't ask for anything extra the president just came up to me after a big playoff game told me how happy he was to have me there and gave a "special gift" (laughs).


GDYNIA SEAHAWKS, POLAND

Photo: Photo: Jakub Woźniak/Tricity News
Micah Brown, QB - Gdynia was far better experience for us than people 'knew it to be'. We were told not so good things about Poland and playing there, however it didn't deter us from diving head first.

Upon arrival we were given a 'care package' which included shirts, shorts, hoodies, key chains, practice uniform, contact info, keys, phones, passwords, transportation pass, gym pass, insurance card and even an early bonus as cash on hand. We were presented at our apartment with brand new lining, pillows and all household items you could think to want.

Payments were more than on time, they were early and accurate and lots of times generous. Practice was always planned and gameday were always an event.


CATANIA ELEPHANTS, ITALY

Photo: Michele Marinelli
George Contreras, Coach - My two years in Italy with the Elephants were highlighted by a good owner (Davide Giuliano) who is no longer with the team, very good Italian players and the incredible lifestyle of the hidden gem that is Sicily.


Have you coached and/or played for an organization you'd like to see in SafeBet? 

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Thursday, August 18, 2016



All beginnings are tough, especially when you want to introduce a whole country to a new sport. Bosnia and Herzegovina currently has only 1 club competing - the Sarajevo Spartans. There were attempts in forming a team before, however all failed. Now, Spartans are working on growing their program, marketing the sport in Bosnia and are "forced" to play in leagues outside of their country.

We talked to Rahman El Sayed about the team and growing the sport in Bosnia.

BEGINNINGS

Several tries were made on establishing an American Football Club in Bosnia and Herzegovina... Unfortunately, they all collapsed due to the economic situation, the fear of contact, youth that was not interested in searching for new sports, and sports that already have a large popularity such as soccer and basketball. All these factors played a role in disrupting the founding a club of American Football in Sarajevo before 2011.

In January 2011, a group of high-school guys and a few college students came together and paid for time slot in a sport hall to pass the ball. The only knowledge they had regarding American Football was gained from YouTube and watching games on ESPN. This group was led by Zlatan Cilic, Mirza Slatina, and the biggest figure of American Football in Bosnia Eldar Hamzagic – a student of Architecture then. No one was there to support them or to teach them rules of the game.

Later on, two special force soldiers from American Embassy started to work with them, teach them the basics. They trained in parks, and a few people gathered to watch them play with sympathy. Eldar managed to get old equipment for training, and later some other friendly clubs from the region helped in gathering equipment needed, and the Royal Crowns from Kraljevo held some joint practices.



GEARING UP

In July 2011, the first American Football Club in Bosnia and Herzegovina was formed - the Sarajevo Spartans. With only 10 sets of equipment available and only 10 members that were willing to train that liked the sport enough to try. Eldar was set as the main coach of the team due to his knowledge related to this sport. Later on, Eldar was contaced by Jarred Mcafee, non-profit worker from America. He was a very steady and stable man and he managed to spread interest for American Football among youth and gather bigger numbers of trainees. The team was working hard on the field, but also hung out off the field, as they were becoming closer by time through watching NFL games at Eldar's place.

In March 2012, Sarajevo played their first game against the Klek Knights and in June 2012 they played the first game in the history of the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although we lost, the game highlighted the start of a new era of this sport in Bosnia. Mathew Carver, who played in college and worked as a coach in high schools in America, arrived and was appointed as the new coach of Sarajevo Spartans. The club was registered officially, and the needed equipment was bought. The club had 40 members at the time.


COMPETING

The Spartans played arena style football in 2013, and then played in the AAFL, where they claimed the fourth place after losing to Zagreb Patriots in the 3rd place game. This year, Spartans competed in CEFL and have achieved many of the set goals, as we finished 3rd in the Central Division, with a 3-3 ratio of wins and losse.  Only lack of luck held them from qualifying to the final of the Division. The most difficult loss when they lost at home to Zagreb in the fifth match.

Tears and sadness are the only expression seen after such match and fight. However, they managed to recover and record an away win in the final match against Domzale Tigers.



THE PEOPLE

If you are looking for a Spartans player, it is easy to do so on a Friday night, as they are all together hanging out and enjoying. They are training in Gym together, or smoking Shisha in bars together, having fun regardless the big difference in age (16-36), religions, and races. They always find time for brothers hanging. We try to watch games and play fantasy football in the offseason.


FANS & SUPPORT

Spartans players as individuals and team are always willing to help the community, as in the period of flood catastrophe in Bosnia, they were organized, donated blood and food, and helped in community works, and by that they promoted this sport in Bosnia.

In Brčko, a new club was established and in Mostar where Spartans organized a camp for players to learn and play American Football.

Today, some players for these camps are among us here as Spartans. We have had players volunteer their time in community development in Sarajevo and also at the children’s hospital here.


LOOKING BACK

The city of Sarajevo and politicians are not recognizing this sport, and all sports in general. A lot of clubs were shut down due to the lack of support. However, we are very thankful for our families and supporters for their love and support. Also, We always thank our sponsors for their help, but still, there is a need for more as they are not covering all costs that we are taking for the season.

One season costs about 6000 euros, so all players are playing monthly fees to cover these costs, and also to travel for games and to buy equipment. All in all, the financial state is not that good, but hope that after the success we brought this season, it will improve. We were fortunate to be sponsored by Ugly Mugs Cafe from Nashville, TN and by BiH Telecom this year. It is still very difficult to find sponsorship for our club.

One of the things that we have to continuously remind ourselves is that new players have no knowledge or experience. We have to both train brand new guys with no experience along with preparing for games. Far too often we threw new guys into games too early. This leads to people leaving because they are getting killed.

We are trying to find ways for people to gain experience without getting hit too early and often. The other thing that we have learned is that the off field experience is as important, if not more important than the on field experience. The driving force behind people staying is the camaraderie that goes with being in the club. We are trying to develop ways to increase the enjoyment of the entire club experience for members.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Touchdown Europe Hall of Fame, or, TDEU Approved, features some of the best coaches and players (domestic and import) across Europe. A place where coaches and players are highlighted for their work on and off the field.

For more information on how to get nominated, visit our HOF Nomination Form page.


HALL OF FAME

DOUG ADKINS, COACH



EUROPE


  • Two years Head Coach in the Finnish Maple League with the Tampere Rocks 1986-1987
  • Defensive Coordinator Finnish National team - European Champions 1968
  • Defensive Coordinator Danube Dragons 2010 - Winner of the Austria Bowl- champions of the Austria league
  • Defensive Coordinator Prague Black Hawks 2012 - Winner of the Czech Bowl - Champion of the Czech league
  • Head Coach of the Carlstad Crusaders champions of the Sweden 2013 and 2014
  • Head Coach of the Novi Sad Dukes - champions of the Serbia League 2015 Champion of the CEFL 2015
  • Head Coach of the Serbia National Team - Perfect record in 2015 wins over the Italian and Hungarian national teams.
  • 2016 Head of the Serbia National Team

USA


  • 2008-2012 Defensive Coordinator- College of Siskiyous - Weed California – Northern California
  • 2007-2008 Defensive Coordinator - Shasta College - Redding California – Northern California
  • 2000- 2007 Head Football Coach – Humboldt State University - Arcata, California – Member of the Great Northwest Conference - DII conference
  • 1995-2000 Defensive Line Coach University of Nevada - Reno, Nevada – Member of the Western Athletic Conference -DI
  • 1991-1994 Defensive Coordinator –Humboldt State University - Arcata, California – Member of the Northern California Athletic Conference
  • 1989-1990 Defensive Coordinator – Oregon Tech - Klamath Falls, Oregon – Member of the Evergreen Conference
  • 1983-1989 Defensive Coordinator – Head Track Coach – Central Washington University- Ellensburg, Washington – Member of the Evergreen Conference
  • 1978-1983 Head Football Coach – Assistant Track Coach – Federal Way High - School – Federal Way, Washington – 5A School in the South Puget Sound League
  • 1975-1978 Head Football Coach – Head Track Coach – Sequim High School - Sequim, Washington – 3A School in the Olympic League
  • 1974-1974 Assistant Football Coach – Head Track Coach – Marysville - High School – Marysville, Washington 4A School in the Northwest Conference
  • 1972-1974 Offensive Line Coach– Wenatchee Valley College Wenatchee, Washington – Member of the Washington Junior College Conference
  • 1970-1972 Offensive Line Coach–Central Washington University Washington University - Ellensburg, Washington – Member of the Evergreen Conference


SPECIAL RECOGNITION

College of the Siskiyous
- Back to Back Conference Champion 2011-2012
- Win Northern California Bowl 2012
- 10 straight wins in 2012

Shasta College
- 2008 9-2 Season -- First Conference Championship season in 27 years
- 2008 Bowl game win in the Bulldog Bowl
- 2008 First winning season in six years
- 2008 First in Defense in Northern California

Humboldt State University
- 2006 9-2 Third best season in the history of Humboldt State University

University of Nevada
- 1995 Big West Champs – Las Vegas Bowl Vs Toledo
- 1996 Big West Champs – Las Vegas Bowl Champs Vs Ball State
- 1997 Big West Co-Champs
- Develop five all Big West defensive lineman

Humboldt State University
- 1994 Northern California Conference Co-Champs
- 1994 HSU best season since 1979
- First HSU Football Championship since 1986
- First back to back winning season since 1972
- Humboldt State Defense
- 2nd in NCAA Division II rushing defense 1992
- 8th in NCAA Division II rushing defense 19924
- 6th in NCAA Division II turn over margin 1994
- 20th in NCAA Division II total defense 1994
-1st in the NCAC Conference
- 1994-1993-1992 Total Defense
- 1994-1993-1992 Scoring Defense
- 1994-1993-1992 Rushing Defense
- 1994-1993-1992 Pass Defense
- 1994-1993-1992 Interception

Central Washington University
- Five times in the national play-offs
- Three times in the final four
- Three undefeated season in a roll
- 1st in the nation in total defense 1984 NAIA Division I
- 1st in the Evergreen Conference
- 1984-1987-1988-1989 Total Defense
- 1984-1987-1988-1989 Rushing Defense
- 1987-1988-1989 Pass Defense

Three Times High School Coach of the Year
-1975 Sequim High School- Olympic League Coach of the Year
-1978 Federal Way High School- South Puget Sound Coach of the Year
-1982 Federal Way High School- South Puget Sound Coach of the Year



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