MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – “The NFL didn’t work out, the CFL didn’t work out,” said former Davidson star Cam Jackson.
“Overseas is another chance to do what you love and to travel,” said former Vigor quarterback Keith Ray.
A group of former, Mobile-area high school stars are set to take their talents overseas this spring.
“American football over there is more of a hobby, it’s not really a passion or spectacle like it is here in the United States,” said Jackson.
“I really didn’t think they knew about it or knew much about it. I didn’t even know they played over there until they came to me with an offer to play,” said former Williamson Lion Laparish Lewis.
The trio will suit up for professional teams in Poland and Serbia. They’ve been playing in Europe for a few years now, and still remember what their first seasons were like.
“There’s definitely culture shock,” said Jackson. “It’s a different culture and language and food you eat, but it’s a good experience.”
“Poland is very cold, sometimes it’s six-below zero, and you have to teach when you’re over there,” said Ray.
The guys say the game of American football is growing worldwide, with teams overseas recruiting talented players from the states to help grow the sport and bring championships to their respective countries.
“Any American that goes over there, you’re supposed to be the best player. But a lot of Americans fail horribly, they look way worse because they don’t buy into the team,” said Lewis.
“Some leagues have up to five Americans, some leagues you can only have two Americans on a team, in addition to restrictions on how many Americans can be on the field at the same time,” said Jackson.
“It’s going to get bigger, it’s growing each year,” said Ray. “I think as it grows a lot of guys like us that didn’t get a chance to go pro here can go over there and become superstars.”
None of the guys grew up thinking their football careers would take them to Europe, but sometimes in life, going off script can be a good thing.
“Honestly I found my love for the game again, having fun and teaching guys about American football,” said Jackson.