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. The Örebro Black Knights (Sweden) American import, Danny Wynne, allowed me a detailed interview about his experiences in Europe.
DANNY’S JOURNEY TO EUROPE
How many years have you played in Europe/overseas?
Going on my second year
Which team was your best experience?
Both experiences were/are great, but I have been enjoying Sweden more
Which country was your best experience?
Rome, Italy was great but I feel like I am enjoying Sweden more this year. The culture here is amazing and welcoming
How did you get here? What’s your football journey?
I have been playing football for 19 years, I started in Pop warner and continued to play through middle, high school and college. At Delaware Valley University I was a 4 year starter, 3 year captain and a 3 time first team all conference player and 3 time all region player. I was also a 2 nd team All-American heading into my junior season. I had interest from many NFL teams but received the most from Tampa Bay and Seattle. After my 2 NFL pro days (Temple, Villanova) and 2 CFL (Calgary, Winnipeg) try outs I received heavy interests from both of them but received no invites to their mini-camps. I didn’t want to take a year off so I decided to go overseas and play for the Lazio Marines.
LIFE IN SWEDEN
How do you like it in Sweden?
It’s a great experience so far, we have established a tight brotherhood here with the Black Knights and are looking very impressive. The city of Orebro is a great place to live with friendly people all over the place. It’s also great living here because there isn’t much of a language barrier since almost everyone here speaks English. The people are very welcoming and all around great people.
Do you spend a lot of time with Swedish teammates or on your own/with other imports?
My roommate is our QB Corbin Lawler, he is from South Dakota where he attended the University of Souix Falls. We are great friends and are with each other every day and do almost everything with each other. We also spend a lot of time with our Swedish teammates, like I stated previously, there is a close brotherhood like bond that we have on this team so we are always hanging out together.
What level would you compare the football played in Sweden to in the United States?
I’d say the talent level for the top teams is D3/D2
What do you see as some of the biggest differences between football in the states compared to Europe/Sweden?
In the states our schedule is from 5:30am to 8pm. Here it’s more like trying to get guys to meetings and films whenever they are available because most of the guys are working, have families or in school so they only have a limited amount of time.
How have you personally helped your teammates and coaches develop their American Football knowledge during your time abroad?
Yes, I help out with whatever they need help with in any aspect of the game. Corbin, myself and another one of our teammates (Sebastian Gauthier-HC) coach for a D1 team in Vasteras.
What are your plans after the season concludes?
My plans are to play in the CFL. I know I have the skills/talent/knowledge to play in the league I just need one team to give me a chance. Film doesn’t lie…
LAST WORDS OF ADVICE
“Throughout my entire career, I have always been told I can’t do this, and can’t do that. I’ve proved everyone who’s ever doubted me wrong and I’m on a mission to get into the CFL and I won’t stop until I reach my goal.”
What advice would you give to someone playing football in Europe/overseas for the first time?
Enjoy each and every day you get the opportunity to travel and get payed for doing what you love is a blessing. I’d say play for those who can only dream of being in the position we are in.
What does American Football mean to you?
I play for the love of the game!