American Football evolves every year, and with it, the illusion of facing new challenges from all corners of Europe. Each season, the European League of Football welcomes more followers who believe in this project. Teams with nostalgia or created from scratch; everyone has a place. And they all have a story to tell. For this reason, we want to bring you, the fans, a little piece of each one of them. So that you put a face and eyes on the rivals who are going to fight with the Barcelona Dragons to travel a path to Duisburg.
We travel to the last story of this section. The closest rival, with whom we will face in just over a week: Helvetic Guards. The entry of the newly founded franchise into the European League of Football was announced on May 13, 2022, during the press conference for the presentation of the 2023 season, thus establishing the first team in the Swiss country.
On August 26, the team announced former offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, Norm Chow, as the team’s Head Coach. Later, it became known that the Guards would play their home games at the Lidl Arena in Wil, some 40 kilometers east of Zurich, with a capacity for more than 6,000 fans.
PLAYERS TO HIGHLIGHT
- Collin Hill: American quarterback almost two meters tall. He played at Colorado State from 2016 to 2019. He later played for the University of South Carolina, where he racked up 127 of 215 passes for 1,411 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions. However, with the Colorado Rams he added to his stats by recording three rushing touchdowns, eleven passing touchdowns and 3,323 passing yards over the course of three seasons. We will have to consider the good accuracy, speed and fast delivery of him. Additionally, he was signed by the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals in 2021 as an undrafted free agent.
- R. Tavai: 29-year-old experienced player who can play as an Outside Linebacker, but also as a Defensive End. After graduating from USC, Tavai went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft, but signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent. Despite being cut, the American made it to the Practice Squad and even recorded three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. In late 2016, the Titans released Tavai and two years later he signed with the Ottawa Redblacks in the Canadian Football League (CFL). In his two years with the team, he played in 22 games and amassed 57 total tackles, seven sacks and four forced fumbles.
- Silas Nacita: Running Back with an exciting story. They put many obstacles in his sports career in the United States, so he decided to travel to Germany, where he showed everything he had inside of him. He played with the Marburg Mercenaries, racking up 2,588 yards and 28 touchdowns, including 515 passing yards and 5 passing touchdowns. Later, he played with the Frankfurt Galaxy in 2017, where he had an impressive season with 2,252 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also had a brief stint in Italy, signing with the Guelfi Firenze, leading the team in runs and receptions. After retiring from soccer for three years, the American began a stunning comeback in 2022 for the Danube Dragons in the AFL playoffs. In just two games, Nacita had 376 yards and eight touchdowns. His impressive performance at the Austrian Bowl earned him Finals MVP.
- Igor Mašlanka: former Tight End for the Barcelona Dragons and the Wrocław Panthers. In 2021, Mašlanka caught six passes for 30 yards in an eleven-game span with the Polish team. In addition, the Slovakian had a great performance with the Catalan franchise. Recall that he also participated in the NFL International Combine in London and managed to do a 40-yard dash in 4.91 seconds and registered a jump of 9.34 feet and 12 repetitions of the bench press.
Added to them is a Spanish player who must be mentioned, the former Barcelona Dragons player, Gabriel Rodríguez, who is part of the Offensive Line of the Swiss team.