Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Are You Ready For Yet Another Adventure?

As many of you know, I have fallen in love with Europe and its various customs, traditions, peoples and cuisines.

Since 2008, Laurie and I have been fortunate enough to spend six to nine months at a time, living abroad as we coached American football teams in Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and France during five different seasons.

Euro-Life with, in order, the Catania Elephants, Hässleholm Hurricanes, Thun Tigers and Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons was a constant delight and eye opening as we have witnessed a wide variety of interesting and culturally diverse experiences.

We left France after our Falcons went 12-0 and won the 2013 Division III National Championship season in June of 2013. In the intervening 14 months we have thoroughly enjoyed reuniting with our family and friends back in the USA, but Europe kept calling to me from deep in the recesses of my soul.

My dream has always been to coach an American football team in Spain. Unfortunately, the downturn of the Spanish economy has made it financially tough for teams to afford import players and, especially, coaches.

Why consider Spain you ask?

Quite a few reasons really. 

First, I speak Spanish. Finally, coaching a team and living in a country where I can understand most of what is being said would be refreshing . . . Catalonia, Gallicia and the Basque country not withstanding.

Second, my Grandparents on my Mother's side of the family were both born in small villages (Grandfather in Infiesto and Grandmother in Alles) in Spain's northern province of Asturias. Thus, these family roots make me want to explore more of the home country.

Finally, Laurie and I have spent much of our European downtime crisscrossing Spain to enjoy Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Córdoba, Asturias, Cadaqués, Pamplona, León, Burgos and, of course, Santiago de Compostela at the end of my 500 mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in 2010. We have come to love Spain and have had, as I said, a strong desire to return there to experience more of this diverse country and, hopefully, coach a team.

Thus, with the end of the Summer approaching, I started to get feelers from teams in Europe to see if I might be interested in coaching their squads in 2015.

I received some strong interest from teams in Germany, Italy and France. These were teams that have good programs and were willing to make very solid offers, but my heart was still in Spain.

Enter an American football team in southeast Spain.

The team in question is based in Murcia

Murcia does have a traditional
Cathedral Plaza . . .

. . . and interesting outfits

Murcia is near beautiful beaches
on Spain's Costa Blanca

. . . and they take Easter Week
very SERIOUSLY in Murcia

Very interesting outfits INDEED!

These people are wearing traditional penitent's garb, NOT what most of you are thinking.

The Flag of Murcia

What do those four castles and seven crowns signify?

So, who is this mystery team?

The Murcia Cobras

They just completed their
20th season in 2014

2013 Murcia Cobras Team Picture

So what do we know about the Cobras?

1. They are in España!

2. They compete in Serie B, the second division of American football in Spain.

In 2014, Serie B consisted of 14 teams split into three different conferences.

In 2015, LNFA (Liga Nacional de Fútbol Americano) because of the growth of the sport in Spain, has opted to have three levels of competition, Serie A, Serie B and Serie C.

Serie C will include some teams that are dropping down from Serie B and some formerly regional, grassroots teams that feel that they are ready for better competition now that they have laid solid foundations for their squads.

Because of the new Serie C division, Serie B will have a new look as well. In 2015, Serie B will be made up of ten teams split into two conferences.

3. The Cobras know how to compete!

In 2014, the Cobras' record was 5-3 with all three losses coming at the hands of the undefeated, 2014 Serie B National Champion Mallorca Voltors. The Cobras were second in last year's Southern Conference and were the #5 seed in the playoffs. 

In the regular season, Mallorca defeated the Cobras twice by scores of 19-12 and 26-12. The two teams met again in the playoff semi-finals with the #1 seed Voltors being pushed to the limit before overcoming Murcia again, this time by a score of 13-6.

By virtue of winning the 2014 Serie B National Championship, Mallorca was elevated to the elite, six team Serie A league in 2015.

So who would the Murcia Cobras be playing in their as yet unnamed, revamped Serie B conference in 2015?

Imperials de Rues
9-2 in 2014 Serie B

The Imperials were the #2 seed in the 2014 Serie B playoffs and reached the Championship game where they lost to the #1 seeded, 9-0 Mallorca Voltors by a final score of 9-7.

Barcelona Búfals
5-4 in 2014 Serie B

After tying for second place in the Eastern Conference, they were the #6 seed in the 2014 Serie B playoffs, losing in the first round 16-3 to the #3 seed Las Rozas Black Demons.

Santurtzi Coyotes
3-5 in 2014 Serie B

They did not make the 2014 Serie B playoffs as they finished fourth in last year's Northern Conference.

Zaragoza Hornets
1-7 in 2014 Serie B

They did not make the 2014 Serie B playoffs as they finished fifth in last year's Eastern Conference.

So that is the make up of the Cobras' five team Conference for 2015. They will play every team twice, once at home and once on the road, for a difficult eight game regular season

Murcia is the southernmost
team in this Conference

Travel will be potential mental and financial roadblocks for the Cobras. For example, Barcelona is about 370 miles northeast of Murcia while Santurtzi is approximately 500 miles northwest of Murcia.

On the other hand, American tourists save their money for years to have a chance to visit these cities and the Cobras get to do this for a lot less money.


How about the other Serie B Conference?

Las Rozas Black Demons
8-2 in 2014 Serie B

The Black Demons, located in the greater Madrid megalopolis, were the champions of the Northern Conference in 2014. They were the #3 seed in the Serie B playoffs and were eliminated in the semi-finals 20-7 by the #2 seeded Imperials de Reus.

The Black Demons were the Serie B Champions in 2012.

Why is their logo Demon red?

Coslada Camioneros
6-3 in 2014 Serie B

Another Madrid based club, they were the Northern Conference's second place team. They entered the 2014 Serie B playoffs as the #4 seed but were beaten in the first round 31-26 by your #5 seeded Murcia Cobras.
Barberà Rookies
5-4 in 2014 Serie B

The Rookies tied for second place in the Eastern Conference. Seeded #7, they lost in the first round of the playoffs 20-0 to the #2 seeded Imperials de Reus.

Zaragoza Hurricanes
2-6 in 2014 Serie B

They did not make the 2014 Serie B playoffs as they finished fourth in last year's Eastern Conference.

Granada Lions
0-10 in 2014 Serie A

In 2013, the Lions won the Serie B Championship and were promoted to Serie A. They did not make the Serie A playoffs after a sixth place, 0-10 finish in the Serie A 2014 campaign. The Granada squad was relegated back to Serie B for 2015.

So what should we do?

Stay home for another year?

Take a job in Germany? Italy? France?

Or go with our hearts and sign with Murcia?

What do you think that we should do?

Too late . . .

Hola Murcia!!!

Pour the vino tinto!

Get the tapas ready!


For more about the Murcia Cobras team, go to:

For more about the city of Murcia, go to:


Ted Seay said...

Outstanding, coach -- the Cobras are in for a hell of a ride!

George said...

Thank you for the very kind words Ted.

Jimmy Woods said...

coach, I am glad to hear things worked out for you to coach in Spain. Best of Luck. I plan to follow your blog.

Dick said...

Es muy bueno