30+: Ronald Sears

There can’t be a series of articles dedicated to those who’ve paved the way in Europe, and are still playing, and not contain Ronald Sears. Sears has been showcasing his talents overseas for over a decade now. 

The 35 year old, Brooklyn born athlete has seen his fair share of international American football. Sears started playing the game he loves at the age of eight, and hasn’t stopped since. Sears grew up in Brooklyn, NY, where he thrived playing in his youth league for the Brooklyn Skyhawks, then shining at Quarterback in high school at New Utrecht. Sears went on to play collegiately for the University of Buffalo as a defensive back, before switching back to Quarterback professionally. 

Sears found a home in the professional ranks overseas in Germany. First playing for the Lübeck Cougars in 2010, then continuing amongst the top GFL ranks with the Münich Cowboys in 2011, and the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in 2012. After a tough up and down season with the Lions, the athletic QB took his talents to the Starnberg Argonauts in 2013, before taking a hiatus from the game in 2014. Sears returned to international football in 2015 with Nürnberg Rams, and then the next few years bouncing between the Landsberg XPress and Münich Rangers. 

When not on the football field, you can find this mild mannered athlete enjoying time with family and friends, utilizing free time watching movies, playing games, and in investing in his ultimate love of music. Currently he’s the Head Junior Varsity (JV) Coach at New Utrecht High School and assistant on the Varsity squad. Sears noted, “I’m grateful that I’m about to go back to my high school and give back. I have a huge sense of gratitude to my high school coach Alan Balkan, who is still coaching at the school.” 

Sears, as many other athletes are during these times, is waiting to see how these next months will play out with football overseas. Various leagues have cancelled their respective 2020 season due to COVID, while others are continuing suit, but in a different format and light. That leaves Sears’ football plans up for debate. But until then, he was kind enough to share his journey with Touchdown Europe.

Career 

Your specific position?

 • I’m an athlete; I have played every position in the game of football. When playing little league with the Brooklyn Skyhawks, I started on the offensive line and as I gained knowledge and skill I evolved and have been able to play and learn different positions. In high school I played Quarterback and in college defensive back, so I have the skill set for any position on offense and defense. 


What do you feel are your greatest attributes in football? 

• Greatest attribute is the knowledge and vision for football. I started watching football at the age of 5 and started playing at the age of 8. So I have watched the game of football evolve and I stay fresh in the changes and can vision ways that help my football knowledge and coaching methods. 

Do you have a favorite team you played on or a particular season you played in? 

• My favorite team I played on was the Munich Cowboys in 2011. I was the only import player brought over for the second half of the season and we made playoffs. That group of German players really understood football and unity. My favorite season was my first, with Lübeck in 2010. That was epic because it was my first season, football in Germany was competitive, and the experiences off the field were amazing and nothing gets better than the first. That was a life changing opportunity! Thank you to Mark Holtze of the Lübeck Cougars and Richard Bonds for giving me this opportunity to have a career playing football in Europe. 

Is there a negative experience with a team or season you had? 

• Negative experience comes in the 2012 season while playing for the New Yorker Lions. New Yorker Lions is a great organization, the team was great, and I enjoyed everything about football there. Unfortunately our coach Phil Hickey, made the player coach relationship hard to deal with and I wasn’t allowed to complete the season with the team. 

What has aided in your longevity in football? 

• Longevity was aided by the hard work and competitive drive to compete, as well as a little luck…everyone needs it sometimes in life. I think getting to know good people and having talent and a mind for football is what helped too. 

What are some football accolades you are most proud of? 

• I haven’t won a championship in football. I’ve lost championship games and playoffs games, so I’m still missing that meaningful trophy in my case. But becoming the JV head coach is the best accolade I have ever received, which gives me the ability to help younger athletes live out their dreams and guide them in the right direction. 

Journey 

How many countries have you traveled to while playing overseas? 

• Traveled a little bit while I’ve been in Europe. I visited a lot of cities in Germany and visited Italy, Bulgaria, Netherlands and Austria. 

Do you have a favorite country you have visited while overseas? 

• I enjoyed the Netherlands and Bulgaria because of the cultural experience. They’re both very interesting countries to experience 

Best memory outside of football while playing overseas? 

• Best memory outside of football was the experience I had in Bulgaria. The lifestyle was interesting, a country very rich in tradition and culture. It’s a wonderful and beautiful country especially by the black sea. I enjoyed it. 

Any regrets or things you wish you would have done different? 

• Only regret is I wish I travelled more within Europe. 

Your future plans once your playing career has finished? 

• When I hang the cleats up I will continue to coach. I’m just waiting for the transition to fully happen, I can’t stop playing lol 

Advice for future generations that would like to play as long as you have? 

• To the future generation, just love the sport of football and playing it in another country. Be level-headed and open minded. Also, put the work in on and off the field and stand for something or fall for anything. Respect the opportunity and the experience because tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. So live and learn but keep your eyes, mind, and ears open. Most important, love what you do and do what you love. I love football!!!! 

“Playing overseas opened my mind to the world and changed me as a person, because the opportunity kept me around something I love to do. Living overseas has been so awesome, because it’s such a rare opportunity that I’m so appreciative for. I have grown from this opportunity and gained a lot of knowledge and friendships along the way. Being around so many cultures and beliefs allowed for me to accept changes in my life.”


Brian Casey

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