American Football in Europe: The European Prospective

“Football is everything, my job, my family, my passion. I could not image one day of my life without it, is literally as drug, you need it every day.”

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Bart Iaccarino is a 33-year-old American Football Coach for the Reus Imperials

American Football is being played EVERYWHERE!!! The sport has grown so much that there people who are not originally from the states are making a career out of it. This brings me to the man of discussion today, Bart Iaccarino. Bart is an Italian (born and raised in Italy, not a New Jersey knockoff), who has been playing football since the late 90’s. His expertise and knowledge of the game has led him along a path of football success. His path is now going through the city of Reus in Spain where he is the Head Coach and team manager for the Reus Imperials. Bart was kind enough to give me some words of wisdom about his thoughts on the greatest sport ever invented, American Football.

Bart has been playing and watching American football since the late 90’s, so of course despite it being his job, he is a fan. Bart’s told me his favorite player of all time is the great Warren Sapp #99. If you have ever seen Bart play it would not be hard to understand why he favors the big hall of fame defensive tackle.

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Bart’s favorite player is Warren Sapp

So what about favorite teams? Bart, who do you root for? “Swarco Raiders, Iowa Hawkeyes, Oregon Ducks, Ohio state Buckeyes, and Berlin Adler.” Two European teams and three college teams, its apparent that Bart is a fan of the game not the extra bells and whistles of the NFL. This leads me to wonder if this is the thoughts of other Europeans involved in American football. . . .

There are lots of different football leagues in Europe, so it can be a little difficult to know which leagues are the better ones. Bart, what level of American Football do you consider the best? “I think right now Austria is the top league in Europe close with Germany, I think they work in right way inside and outside of the field, number of players that have involved in this sport in huge and fans growing every year. My football program is inspired by the Swarco Raiders steps.”

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Swarco Raiders of Austria are one of the most successful football programs in Europe

What about the future?Do you think American Football is a sport that all kids should learn to play? “Of course! Football is one of the best sports where kids can learn respect, discipline, hard work like in day by day life. We recommend in all district school to come and try this sport with our organization and I think families and players start to see the difference between this sport and all the others.”

I asked Bart how much if his life involves football and he gave me the mathematical answer, “100%.” Well if football is life, what brings you the greatest joy in your life? “Having the chance to work with junior prospects. The opportunity to see how they grow up everyday can not be described in words.” This is the type of passion that you expect to find in the states, but Bart has no problem creating that same passion in Reus.

Bart has been in Reus for about 5 years building a great program. What kind of success have you guys had in that time frame? “We won the national championship this past season and now will step up to the first division in Spain.” That’s an awesome accomplishment, wish you guys the best of luck in the top division!

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Reus Imperials now play in the first division of Spain

What does American Football mean to you? “Football is everything, my job, my family, my passion. I could not image one day of my life without it, is literally as drug, you need it every day. I really recommend to start play this sport to everyone who is thinking to look for a new life experience.”

 

I would like to thank Bart for taking the time to help me better understand his mindset about football. It’s a relief to know that being born in Europe does not make you exempt from the passion of the greatest sport ever invented, AMERICAN FOOTBALL!

 

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