No strangers to overseas challenges – and successes – the U-19 Emirates American Football League (EAFL) Falcons continue their recent tradition of seeking out and taking on some of the toughest international teams out there, with Amsterdam soon to be the latest stamp in Head Coach Patrick Campos’ passport.
His charges are due to do battle with the Dutch Junior Lions on Sunday October 2nd at Yanmar Stadium in what will be an intriguing encounter.
“We try to allow players to test their mettle against some of the finest international players and develop their physical, technical, mental and leadership skills. We have seen players bring these traits back to their respective EAFL teams and raise the level of play – as well as inter-squad respect and camaraderie – across the League,” explained Campos, who not only serves as Head Coach of the U-19 Falcons, but Vice Chairman and Director of Youth Football Operations for the EAFL.
Boasting 24 players from 13 nationalities, the Falcons are a true representation of the diversity of the UAE. And following a setback in their last overseas trip against the Singapore Eagles, the Falcons will look to get back to winning ways against a strong Dutch outfit, who themselves recently tasted defeat against the mighty Dusseldorf Panther – a perennial foe of the Falcons.
The Dutch Junior Lions are the Netherland’s national team and feature the cream of the crop from clubs that form the American Football Bond Nederland (AFBN). For several of the Junior Lions it will be the last time they suit up as youth division players (due to their age), as they will soon be graduating to the senior division. This is sure to provide an added incentive to bow out on a high.
Patrick Campos explained the task at hand for his young team, who have an average age of just 16: “It is always challenging in international play to prepare for your opponent because there isn't a lot of game film or other research materials available. This is especially crucial when you are up against a national team like the Dutch Junior Lions with players from across their League.”
Campos will look to his players to lead by example against the bigger, more experienced Dutch team. Among those relishing the challenge are team leaders Mauricio Madrid and Daniel Perlin – who split time at quarterback, running back Kian Sohrabi, linebacker Max Landeros, and defensive lineman Omar Bazian.
“We are looking forward to the challenge and are honored by the invitation from Coach Marcel Meijerink and the AFBN. This will also be a great cultural exchange for our players and a showcase of our great sport in a historic setting.”