Charles' Diary: Euro-American Challenge

The Euro-American Challenge 2012. in Warsaw, Poland, was one of the best experiences of my entire football career and I still feel extremely honored to have played for the European team. From the beginning to the end, the entire event and the Polish staff was highly professional, almost reaching NFL standards. 

We players were provided with everything we needed and the Polish organization treated us extremely well. I got to Warsaw two days prior to the game. I was picked up by a driver and taken to the hotel, which was conveniently close to the stadium and the city center. The Polish staff had organized that the Americans would share a room with a player from Poland so we had somebody who could show us around, which was great. 

Shortly after our arrival we were taken to the practice field and I can only emphasize how great and professional the coaching staff was. The staff, including a couple of American coaches but mostly consisting of Polish coaches, had designed a strategy that suited our purpose and tight schedule perfectly: an easy offense and defense strategy that would allow us to interact in spite of not knowing each other and never having played together. 

Practice itself was good, on a high level - a typically American style practice, I would say. And due to the fact that it was a special occasion for everyone we all, Americans, Poles, Turks etc. tried to bound very quickly and concentrate on practice and perform exactly as the coaches expected us to.

With respect to the game itself, I must point out the high level of all players, European and American, but I have to praise especially my teammates from the European team. Our defense, for example, was only so strong because of European players like DB Andreas Betza and LB Thor Campe, who did everything in their power to stop the American offense. 

At first, I didn’t know if the European team would be able to stand up to the Americans, we just tried to hype everybody up in the locker room before facing them but the game and our performance certainly exceeded my expectations. For me the whole purpose of the game was to show the American players and their coaching staff that Europe is able to put together a team of highly talented players that could keep up with them and beat them. Although we didn’t win the game, we certainly proved our point. 

On a personal level, the game was especially important to me as I had the chance to prove to everyone in Europe and in the States that I was one of the best, if not the best, player in Europe. But of course, the game was not only about proving points but also about promoting the sport in Europe and I really didn’t recognize how big the game was and how much the crowd was into the game until my punt return in the 2nd quarter of the game, which was probably my favorite moment in the entire game. 

Looking at the game's stats the final score could have looked much differently if our team had avoided a couple of mistakes such as fumbling the ball, and I am already looking forward to proving this at next year's Euro-American Challenge when the European team is going to beat the American team for the first time in the history of European football.

Charles McCrea