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 Milano Seamen (Italy) American import, Reece Horn, allowed me a detailed interview about his experiences in Europe and more.
How did you get here? What’s your football journey?
My football journey: started in the 3rd grade. Haven’t looked back since!
LIFE IN ITALY
How do you like it in Italy?
I enjoy Italy. Very different from where I am from but I like different. Lots to do and see. The people in Italy are great. They have and continue to help me out with various things which I am extremely grateful for.
What is your go to meal in Italy?
My go to meal in Italy is the pasta carbonara and the classic prosciutto crudo pizza.
Do you spend a lot of time with teammates or on your own/with other imports?
I spend some time with my teammates outside of football and the playing field; I like to get out and explore when I can, whether that be with friends or on my own; same for training as well; I prefer training solo to stay focused and maximize my workouts.
FOOTBALL IN ITALY
What level would you compare the football played there to in the United States?
I would compare the level of football here to division II.
What do you see as some of the biggest differences between football in the states compared to Europe/Italy?
The biggest difference with football here in Italy than in the states is the knowledge, speed, and fan base. Obviously so much more advanced in the states than here. It is on the rise though here in Italy which is great.
How have you personally helped your teammates and coaches develop their American Football knowledge during your time abroad?
I try to help develop the game of football here with bringing my knowledge of the sport to each athlete, especially the receivers I play with; try to help them develop better habits, technique, route running, mindset, etc.
What are your plans after the season concludes?
My plans for after the season here are to hopefully get signed by another team either in Europe, the states, or in Canada. I’m in great shape and 120% healthy, so ready to go if I get a call.
Could you tell me an interesting story of your football experience?
Something interesting about my experience would be that when I was with Tennessee. I vividly remember being in the huddle and listening to the play call during camp from Matt Cassel (2nd string QB behind Mariota). Right before we broke the huddle to get to the LOS, I looked up and Andre Johnson was the other receiver in the huddle with me. I always look slightly down to focus and get the play call so I know where to go, line up, and what I specifically have. So looking up and realizing a future Hall of Fame wide receiver no doubt and me, a 23 year old kid from Carmel, IN lining up as the Z and X receivers was something special to me. A pretty cool moment.
What advice would you give to someone playing football in Europe/overseas for the first time?
Some advice I would give someone coming to Europe for the 1st time to ball would be to be prepared for an adjustment. If you are used to a certain atmosphere, crowd, flow of practice, just be ready to adapt and help your team win as best you can.
In one sentence, can you sum up what American Football means to you?
This game means everything to me and has taught me countless life lessons I can use forever and in return pass down to my kids and other athletes.