CEFL Teams: Thonon Black Panthers of France


Today, with the support of the city of Thonon, the club benefits from some of the finest facilities of any American football squad in all of Europe.

Photo: Guillaume Mouchet

When talking about a well respected rock-solid organization, Thonon Black Panthers are right there on top of that list. We had a great chat with Black Panthers' president, Benoit Sirouet, who gave us more insight on the Panthers' first steps in American football, as well as what makes his team - a team.

The current vice-champion of France will travel to Tirol, where they'll face SWARCO Raiders on April 13th, while on May 25th, Milan Seamen will be headed to Thonon.


The Thonon les Bains /Black Panthers/ were founded in 1987, by the current club president Benoit Sirouet and his predecessor Jérôme Garnier, with two others friends Nicolas Schopliansky et Frederic Meriguet. Since its creation, the club has grown from a small group of football enthusiasts to an organization that features both flag and tackle teams in several age categories.

The senior team currently competes in the French first national division or the “Casque de Diamant” – literally translated as the “Diamond Helmet”. The season runs from February until June and features a 10 game schedule, a national semi-final, and a championship game, all played under NCAA rules. In 2007, both the junior and senior squads reached their respective finals for the second time in club history.

National Champions 2004 Div 2, National Champions 2013, 2104, Eurpean champions 2013 (EFAF Cup) 2017 (EFL).

Thonon les Bains is nestled between Lake Geneva (the largest lake of Western Europe) and the Northern Alps. With 35000 residents, it is the largest of the French cities on the shores of the lake. Its central location provides an ideal springboard for brief sightseeing excursions: Thonon is only a 20 minute drive from Switzerland and a one hour drive from Northern Italy. Geneva’s international airport (50 minutes) offers several low cost flights to major destinations across the continent.

First “sponsor” was the City of Thonon, with a large contribution to our team over the years.

Photo: Guillaume Mouchet

Gearing Up

First practice was in 1987, on a sand field without any equipment.

First coach in 1987, Bruno Jolly, with a small experience between 1984 and 1987 with the team of then Anges Bleus de Joinville le Pont (near Paris).

Today, with the support of the city of Thonon, the club benefits from some of the finest facilities of any American football squad in all of Europe. While field-time is at a premium throughout Europe, our squad benefits from exclusive use of a beautiful grass field with an adjacent locker room.

Over the years, the club has made solid investments in field equipment and now boasts of three sleds, in addition to all the requisite light practice material (shields, bags, ropes, etc). Only a stones throw from the field are the club’s office, clubhouse and bar, a small video room, and the equipment room.

Over the years, a number of North-American players and coaches have brought their skills and love of the game to Thonon-les-Bains. Indeed, since the early 1990s, the Black Panthers have yearly recruited import players to boost their senior roster. First north American Head coach was Patrick Gregory (from Bishop University).

Photo: Guillaume Mouchet


Today, we have 6 programs actively competing. We have around 250 players and 20 coaches.

Flag +17 (regional competition) - U14 (regional competition) – U16 (regional competition) – U19 (National Competition) – Senior women team (Regional competition) – Senior (1st division and CEFL).

The People

Our secret to success: Working in a professional environment with a family spirit, for 31 years.

We compete at the highest level for the smallest town in competition (national and European). This is what surprises the football community.

Photo: Guillaume Mouchet


This is an important point. The most important thing for 30 years - was for us to win the trust of partners, volunteers and the entire community.

We are present on all events in our city that helped us grow. We are present on many events in the region; and we organize many charity actions.

You have to give a lot, in order to receive a little!

Fans & Support

It's always easier to be supported after being successful and gaining people's trust.

Today, the club has help of more than 50 volunteers, 3 full-time employees, 80 private partners, in addition to the city of Thonon, the Haute-Savoie department and the Auvergne region Rhône Alpes for a budget of 530 000 euros. Each part cited is essential to the operation. It is our legacy of 30 years of work and stability.

Photo: Guillaume Mouchet

Looking Back

The lesson is that you have to keep the trust of people and decision makers.

Work by their side, help them and not think only of their project; it must be integrated into the society around us. We correct team and everyday mistakes; We must animate the team of leaders, give them the desire to give the best to their club because they are proud of it.

Today, we are recognized and respected to be put forward by our partners, because they are proud of us. You have to know how to seize the good opportunities and give them the means.

In 2005, the arrival of Larry Legault (Canadian HC from 2005 to 2016), was the best thing that happened to this club. He helped us structure it, guide it in a respectful work ethic. Larry paved the way for what this club is today: respect and envy.


Disclaimer: This article is done as a partnership between Central European Football League [CEFL] and Touchdown Europe [TDEU], with the respected organizations participating in the CEFL 2019.

Media outlets can and are encouraged to re-post this article on their websites/blogs, as long as the disclaimer above is used. Thank you for respecting author rights.


{"widgetType": "below grid","widgetLabel": "Pass-Sporting","widgetColor": "#da1010","widgetCount": 5}
{"widgetType": "carousel posts","widgetLabel": "SafeBet","widgetCount": 3}

30+,3,6 Point Athletics,1,Aaron Hernandez,1,Aberdeen Roughnecks,1,AFBO,1,AFDL,4,AFVD,1,AFWB,1,Aix en Provence Argonautes,2,Aki Jones,2,Allan Price,1,Allgau Comets,6,Alphen Eagles,1,American Grit,1,Amsterdam Admirals,1,Andrija Geric Blog,1,Angel Duchesses,3,Angels Torun,5,Antonio Roane,1,Aquile Ferrara,2,Arlanda Jets Women,1,Arnhem Falcons,7,AUC Titans,1,Austria,3,Avala,2,BAFA,2,BAFL,1,Behind the scenes,2,Belfast Trojans,6,Belgrade Blue Dragons,4,Belgrade Vukovi,9,Ben's Diary,1,Berlin Adler,13,Bialystok Lowlanders,2,Big6,2,Birmingham Lions,1,Blog,94,Blue Mountain State,1,BOA,3,Body and Mind,24,Body Sculpting Club,1,BookerASE,1,Bosnia,1,BoxVideos,15,Brazil,2,Brian Casey,5,Budapest Cowbells,2,Bulgaria,1,CAAF,1,Calanda Broncos,3,Camp Trieste,1,Carlstad Crusaders,1,Catania Elephants,2,CEFL,63,CEFL Bowl,2,CEFL Cup,7,CFL,1,Champions League,3,Christopher Griggs,1,Cineplexx Blue Devils,1,Clayton Banner,1,Club'ing EU Style,2,Coaches Corner,6,College Bowl,1,College Football,2,Columbus Givens,1,Comets Life,2,Coventry Jets,1,czechfootball,1,Czechia,1,D'Elancourt Templiers,2,Damnyans Corner,6,Daniel Kelly,8,Daniel Levy,3,Daniels Diary,2,Danube Dragons,1,Demetrius Sumler,1,Denmark,1,Deric's Diary,1,Diary,23,DJ Hernandez,2,Domestic Signings 2014,3,Domzale Tigers,3,Draft,3,Drills and Workouts,6,Dublin Rebels,2,Dundee Hurricanes,2,EAC,2,EAFL,1,East City Giants,2,Edinburgh Wolves,1,EFA,1,EFAF,2,EFLI,2,Egypt,1,Eidsvoll 1814s,1,Einhejrar,1,ELAF,2,ELF,1,Elite,33,Elite Top 10 Domestic 2013,5,Embo's Diary,3,Embo's iPod,1,Endzone TV,1,Enschede Broncos,4,Eurobowl,6,Europe's Elite,2,Evan Harrington,1,Ewa Susmarska,2,Exploring The Off Season,17,Featured,9,FFEC,1,FIDAF,11,Final Four,2,Finland,5,Football vs Football,1,France,2,Gabriel Chambers,2,Gdynia Seahawks,6,German Bowl,1,Germany,8,GFL,11,GFL2,2,Giessen Golden Dragons,1,Golden Bears,1,Graz Giants,1,Greg's Diary,4,Gridiron TV,6,Halifax Harbour Hawks,1,Hall of Fame,74,Hamburg Blue Devils,1,Hassleholm Hurricanes,1,Helsinki 69ers,2,Helsinki Wolverines,2,Helsinski Roosters,2,IAFL,1,IceBucketChallenge,2,Iceland,1,ifaf,10,IFAF Europe,6,In The Trenches,8,India,2,Indjija Indians,2,Instructional,7,International Prospects,3,Interviews,56,Ireland,18,Israel,1,Istanbul Koc Rams,5,Italy,6,itc,1,Ivan Nedeljkovic,1,Jabari Harris,1,Jagodina Black Hornets,3,JCL Graz Giants,4,Jeel Bowl,1,Jeff Scuran,1,Jimmie Russel,1,Johan Stal,1,John Trana,3,Jonesing,1,Joshua Henry,1,Juaquin Iglesias,1,Junior Tigers,1,Kangourous de Pessac,1,Kickers Diary,3,Kiel Baltic Hurricanes,1,Kikinda Mammoths,2,Kragujevac Wild Boars,17,Kraljevo Royal Crowns,5,Kristina Fruza,1,Kuwait,1,Kyle Callahan,1,Ladislav Jensik,1,Lazio Marines,2,Les Gones De Lyon,1,Leszno Hunters,1,LFA,1,Limerick Vikings,2,Ljubisa Preletacevic Beli,1,Ljubljana Silverhawks,7,London Blitz,1,Lubeck Cougars,2,Luka Vujnovic,1,Malaga Corsairs,1,Manchester Titans,1,Matic Pirnat,1,Mic Brown,2,Micd up,3,Micheal's Diary,1,Milos Nestorovic,1,Mind and Health,11,Modling Rangers,1,Moscow Bruins,1,Moscow Dragons,2,Moscow Patriots,2,Moscow Spartans,1,Munich Cowboys,1,National Teams,2,Netherlands,4,New Yorker Lions,1,News,475,NFL,2,NFL 2013,86,NFL 2014,9,NFL Color Rush,1,NFL Combine,3,NFL Draft 2013,41,NFL Europe,4,North Kildare Reapers,5,Norway,3,Novi Sad,1,Novi Sad Dukes,13,Orebro Black Knights,1,Orlando Webb,1,Osijek Cannons,1,Oslo Vikings,3,Osnabruck Tigers,6,Osos Rivas,1,Oxford Saints,1,Pancevo Panthers,5,Pass-Sporting,7,Philippines,1,PLFA,42,Plovdiv Wolves,1,Podrzi,1,Poland,33,Poznan Patriots,1,prague black panthers,1,Prague Lions,1,Pre-Draft Analysis,34,Prejudged,1,Pro Hunt,1,RaiZe,3,Ravensburg Razorbacks,1,Rhein Fire,1,Rise & Grind,1,Romania,1,Russia,3,SAAF,12,SafeBet,4,SAFV,1,SAJL,1,Samo Jako,1,Scam Alert,1,Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns,1,Scotland,2,Scottish Claymores,1,Seahawks Sopot,1,Seamen Milano,1,Sebastian Serrano,1,Serbia,27,Shamrock Bowl,8,Siegfried Gehrke,1,Silverbacks,1,Slovenia,2,Spencer Wood,1,Split Sea Wolves,1,SportsTakeoff,2,Srdjan Stanojev,1,Stirling Clansmen,3,StPetersburg Griffins,1,Swarco Raiders,8,Sweden,3,Switzerland,2,Talib Wise,1,TDEU Approved Signings 2014,7,TDEU Blog,11,TDEU Heroes,13,TDEU101,3,Team Cover Story,19,Team News,5,The Extra Point Podcast,4,The Life Of An Import,1,The Takeover,5,The Water Bottle Challenge,1,Thonon Black Panthers,3,Tim Tebow,1,Tony Touchdown Simmons,2,Top 10 Domestic 2017,8,Top Players 2013,4,Top Plays 2013,9,Top Uniforms,2,TopLiga,3,TouchdownTV,1,Trever Hardin,1,Triangle Razorbacks,2,Trinity College,1,Tristan Solo,1,Tychy Falcons,4,UAE Falcons,1,UK,6,UKRedZone,4,Under Armour Camps,9,Uniform Design,2,UniWatchers,3,USA Football,1,USFAF,1,Valerie Durussel,1,Veteran Imports,3,Video,217,Vila Velha,1,Vojin Milic,2,Warsaw Eagles,2,Warsaw Sharks,1,Wasa Royals,2,Waterford Wolves,5,Webinar,3,Weekly Highlights 2013,16,Why Haven't You Signed Them Yet?,3,Wikingowie Gdansk,1,Wojciech Weekly,12,Wongs Wisdom,1,Wroclaw Devils,1,Wroclaw Outlaws,1,Wroclaw Panthers,11,WWC 2013,27,Xenith,1,Zagreb Patriots,2,Zielona Gora Dragons,1,
Touchdown Europe: CEFL Teams: Thonon Black Panthers of France
CEFL Teams: Thonon Black Panthers of France
Today, with the support of the city of Thonon, the club benefits from some of the finest facilities of any American football squad in all of Europe.
Touchdown Europe
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content