American Football is thriving all over the world, especially in Europe. To help develop the sport and keep competition at a high level, American players are “imported” onto club teams in various capacities. These players get paid to play the game they love while seeing the world and experience different cultures. One of these import players, Tim McGee, was kind enough to answer a few questions about his time in Poland with the Gdynia Seahawks.
You have played football all over the globe. What are some of your previous stops? During My Professional Career I have played for the Kirchdorf Wildcats (Germany) , San Angelo Bandits (Texas), Iowa Barnstormers (IFL), and Gdynia Seahawks (Poland)
THE ROUTE TO EUROPE
Playing football in Europe is an unusual route for a football player. How did you end up in Europe?
I knew from a young age that this game would be a part of my life or a long time from the first time I strapped my cleats up in Camden South Carolina Pop Warner League at the age of 8. My football career has been bumpy because of my academics in the past, but I am use to adversity so it never phased me because my talent can not be challenged from bad advice to bad coaching I kept a level head.
I chose to finish my High School Diploma in 2006 and that is when my journey really began. When I first took that long ride to East Mississippi community college one of my most influential coaches looked me in the eye and said “McGee understand this is a business trip”. When he told me that I already understood exactly what he meant. I went on to go from sitting out of football for three years to becoming the number 3 defensive tackle in the nation that following year. I was able to Sign with the University of Minnesota in 2008, but again I was side tracked because of my academics. I came to my senses got back on track and transferred to the University of Memphis from there I played and graduated in 2010 because I graduated early I was able to transfer to Jacksonville State University due to the coaches being fired.
As I said earlier I knew adversity was headed my way as I am training for the NFL draft I get word that there is a lockout and I knew that was bad news for me. After my name was not called I sat and thought to myself I got to make something happen. That is when I decided to come to Europe to play and I would not change that decision for the world.
FOOTBALL IN POLAND
What level would you compare the football played in Poland to in the United States? It is hard to compare because it is a whole different country. I will say this if you are an import player and you have a hard time playing in the states you will have a hard time playing here it is not what people in the states thinks these guys come to play and they are not small.
How did you like life it in Poland? I love Poland it is defiantly a Diamond in the rough from the people to the culture to the food it is great. The Polish people are great people, they are very hard working people and they love to make sure you are having a good time.
Did you spend a lot of time with local teammates or with other imports like yourself? I spent time with my teammates and the other imports we like like one big family here.
Coolest thing you have experienced playing football in Europe? The craziest thing was playing in the stadium in Germany where Hitler gave his most famous speech. The stadium would sit 200,000 people once finished.
What advice would you give to someone playing football in Europe/overseas for the first time? I would say come to Europe with an open mind because it might become home for you. Travel, take in the sites, talk to the people, and try to learn the language.