Sunday, July 31, 2016

EuroBall Adventure Part VIII


During my Spring two month coaching experience working in the Stockholm, Sweden suburb of Upplands Väsby with the Wäsby Warriors, I discovered a few new things about myself.

First, I thoroughly enjoyed this type of a relatively short stint in a club's off-season working solely on player fundamentals and coaching the coaches.

I discovered that I felt that I had accomplished much more in a shorter period of time improving the game for this club than I did with any of my long five to nine month seasons with other EuroBall clubs.

I also discovered that being away from the grandkids for longer than two months was no longer an option.

Enter Madrid's Osos Rivas
American Football Club 

With then Osos Rivas President
Enrique Martín Alonso in June, 2015

Enrique has been a long time follower of this blog and a Facebook friend for many years.

At the end of our 2015 season with Spain's Murcia Cobras, we finally met when Laurie and I arrived in the Spanish capital for a few days before flying home to California.

Proud Tradition

The Osos (Bears) were founded in 1989 and have been a perennial power in LFNA Serie A, Spain's toughest American football circuit.

They won the National Championship in 2001 while being coached by SoCal natives Chris and Vince Pagliaro. Chris is Vince's father. Chris' great stories about coaching overseas were a big reason why I wound up starting my own EuroBall career in 2008.

The Osos were National runners-up in 1999, 2002 and 2012.

The have also won the Spanish Cup Championship in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2009.  

February 11, 2012
Sueca Ricers at Osos Rivas

I was in Madrid on this date on my way to coaching the Thun Tigers in Switzerland and opted to catch an Osos game on a cold, raw and windy day.

The Osos mauled the Ricers 31-0

It was a no-contest kind of day as the Osos would march to the National Championship game at the end of the 2012 season.

With Enrique for lunch in Barcelona
this past June

During our incredible lunch we talked football.

After following this blog while coaching Sweden the previous two months, Enrique was intrigued by this new off-season model that Thomas Andersson of the Wäsby Warriors had started.

I told him all about positive effects that we accomplished with player fundamentals, the coaching of the coaches and the recruiting new blood for the Warriors via the many school visits, P.E. classes taught and school team practices held.

In short, I told Enrique that this was an innovative, effective and much more cost effective model for EuroBall teams to explore.

When we were deep into our dessert and café, Enrique asked if I would be interested in coming Madrid during their off-season in October and November to do the same thing for the Osos and some of their feeder programs.

I said "Si."

He said that he would have to go back to the powers that be back in Madrid to discuss the idea and would let me know what they thought.

Last Week a Decision was Reached

Now I'm looking at adding another 11,750 more round-trip travel miles to my account.

They said "Si" too. 

So, after six complete seasons with Italy's Catania Elephants in 2008 and 2009, with Sweden's Hässleholm Hurricanes in 2010, with Switzerland's Thun Tigers in 2012, with France's Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons in 2012-13 and with Spain's Murcia Cobras in 2015 plus a mini off-season with Sweden's Wäsby Warriors in the Spring of 2016, I'll be back at it in Spain this Fall with another mini off-season with the Osos Rivas.

It should be fun!

It's GREAT to be an Oso!!!

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