Has the NFL lockout got you down? Are you going through American football withdrawal? Are you still replaying last season’s Super Bowl and pretending it’s live?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then we have a solution for you — Kaiserslautern Pike Football.
A common misconception has been that American football died when NFL Europe ceased operations. However, the sport lives on and continues to grow with popularity across the country. A surprise for many is the fact that we have our own American football team right here in Kaiserslautern.
The Kaiserslautern Pikes kicked off their seventh season of American football with a 43-3 victory over the Hanau Hornets. The Pikes will compete in the Regionalliga, the German Football League’s third division, and play a 10-game schedule that features five home games. Kaiserslautern returns to the third division after spending two seasons in the German Football League’s second (GFL 2) division. The demotion after last season was a disappointment, and a few changes were made during the off-season to help the Pikes move back up to GFL 2.
The biggest change was having an open practice for all Americans. The GFL allows each team to have a maximum of 10 Americans on their roster, which six can play on game days. New head coach Jason Nowlin began the process of evaluating every American who came out to the open practices, which began back in November.
“We are in a very good situation here because we have so many military personnel and their families that live so close to Kaiserslautern,” Nowlin said. “What I like most about the Americans we have on our team is that not only are they exceptional football players, but they are exceptional people as well.”
As off-season training came to an end, Kaiserslautern had offered nine American passes: Army Spc. Daniel Rossetti-LB, Staff Sgt. Myron Austin-SS, Tech. Sgt. Eric Walton-RB, Master Sgt. Brian Watkins-LB, Tech. Sgt. Martin Molock-CB, contractor Hazim Thomas-RB, Staff Sgt. Mike Davis-WR, Staff Sgt. Markus Menyfield-SS, and dependent Darius Carter-RB. Staff Sgt. Mike Castro and Tech. Sgt. Shawn Miles are part of the coaching staff, helping with the defensive backs and running backs respectively.
As the team continued to practice through the winter the goal became clear and attainable: move back up to second division.
Linebacker Sergeant Watkins was a member of last year’s team and said he knows why the Pikes will be back in GFL 2 next season.
“There are a few changes/upgrades to this year’s teams, that makes us different from last year ― attitude, philosophy and swagger. However, what stands out the most is our high powered offense. We scored more points in our first game then the entire season last year combined,” he said. “I believe we will move back to second division (GFL 2) for several reasons. One, we have a new coaching staff headed up by Coach Nowlin. He has the team believing in the team’s philosophy. Second is our high-powered offense anchored by the best running back in our league, (Sergeant) Walton. Finally, we have a non-stop defense piloted by the best linebacker in our league, Kamil Mazur.”
The Pikes will have a five-game home schedule that starts at 4 p.m. Saturday against Frieburg. All U.S. ID cardholders get in the games for free.
“Our management team does a good job of putting our home games together. We have some great concessions and a fantastic cheer team that is one of the best in Germany,” Coach Nowlin said. “It’s a great atmosphere and a great brand of football.”
All home games are played at Schulzentrum Sud, Im Stadtwald, Kaiserslautern.
For more information about the Kaiserslautern Pikes, visit their website at http://pikesnet.de/en.
(Courtesy of Pikes Football)
Kaiserslautern Pikes 2011 Home Schedule
May 7 VS Freiburg Sacritans 4:00 PM
May 21 VS Alberhausen Crusaders 4:00 PM
JUNE 4 VS Ravensburg Razorbacks 3:30
JULY 30 VS Montabaur Fighting Farmers 3:30
AUGUST 6 VS Frankfurt Universe 3:00
*All games are played at Schulzentrum SÜD Im Stadtwald, Kaiserslautern
*All US ID Card Holders get free admission