Meet the Aussie Quartet Playing For the Germany’s Dresden Monarchs
The Dresden Monarchs, perennial playoff contenders in Germany’s top league, definitely have an Australian connection. Not only is head coach John Leijten Australian and head coach of Australia’s national team – Team Outback – but four of his 2017 squad come from “Down Under”.
Two key anchors of the defense have returned for this upcoming season. Defensive back Isaac “Ike” Summerfield and defensive lineman Alan Steinohrt have re-signed and will welcome fellow countrymen linebacker Marcos Delana and wide receiver Jacob Templar in bolstering the Monarchs and hopefully help them win the German title for the first time ever. Dresden reached the final in 2013 but were beaten by the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in a thriller, 35-34.
Summerfield and Steinohrt were anchors of the Dresden defense in 2016. Summerfield recorded 58 tackles and two interceptions. Head coach John Leijten:
“Ike is a pillar of our secondary and has been an important guarantor of our success in recent years.”
Summerfield is no stranger to play in Europe as this is his third season in Dresden under Leijten. He is impressed by the quality of the game:
“The quality of play is very high. All the players in the top GFL teams are fast and strong. The American imports really raise the level and Europe has some great talent. I love it at the Monarchs. All the staff work really hard to make it as professional as possible and easy for us players to practice and perform at the amazing game day they organise. The thing I enjoy the most about playing in Germany is the opportunity to make friends with players from all over the world. Guys really like to try Australian accents but they’re terrible. They usually sound British haha. The level of football is also something I really enjoy and the chance to see different countries so easily. Australia is an island so you can’t pass between countries in a few hours like you can here.”
The Monarchs have been in camp and according to Summerfield the team’s prospects are good:
“We started training camp last week so things are still coming together. But it’s happening fast and it looks good for the future. We still have a few guys to arrive so once we add them we will really know what we have. I think we will be competitive again this year.”
Steinohrt’s return is also welcome. The Aussie defender had an outstanding season in 2016 finishing with 68 tackles and 12 sacks (4th in GFL). He will be joined on defense by Marcos Delana. Delana, the fourth member of the quartet from Down Under is from the Sydney Raiders and the Australian national team and clearly Leijten also holds him in high regard:
“He is an athletic and instinctive player who loves the game. Will hit ya…He was on our 2015 World Championship team, starting at middle linebacker. He is also extremely versatile and always seems to be around the ball.”
One of the two “rookie” Australians joining Dresden this year is 24 year old wide receiver and kicker Jacob Templar who played for the Griffith University Thunder and the Bayside Ravens. He is also an excellent punter and kicker and can boom the ball over 70 yards and kick field goals from anywhere within the 50 yard line.. When asked how he ended up in Europe for the first time naturally he pointed out the Leijten connection:
“I have always wanted to take my football outside Australia and I reached out to Coach Leijten for more information on making the transition to Europe and also discuss how/if I would fit into the Monarchs organisation and what was expected of me on and off the field. We had a great meeting via Skype as we live in separate states in Australia and straight away I knew I wanted to be a Monarch”
Templar has now been in Germany and practicing with the Monarchs for a few weeks. He is impressed he says with the level of play and Dresden itself:
“I knew the transition would be different, but I feel I have coped with it very well, coming out of camp I can see the depth of talent and professionalism inside the entire team and organisation is deep, everyone has a job and everyone does it at 100% of their ability always and I love that. Being a multi position player the size of the workload/playbooks was daunting at first compared to back home but everyone around me since I arrived has been super helpful and after an amazing first camp with the group I’m feeling at home in Dresden.
The calibre of the team and coaching is amazing and I expect the entire league to be no different, a lot of people at home told me about the speed and skill in Europe and the more I heard the more I wanted to put myself into a league and I’m extremely thankful I can spend my first season here at the Dresden Monarchs in the GFL, one of if not the highest quality football Europe has to offer and all of Europe and my friends and family back home what kind of impact an Aussie punter can bring to a team in Europe.”
On his first trip outside of Australia and his four years of playing the sport Templar said:
“This will be my fourth year of American football playing WR/P and first in Europe but back home I have played up to eight different positions for my team. I am coming off an overall and offensive MVP season in Brisbane for my team the Griffith University Thunder, I was selected into the QLD Sundevils in 2016 who are currently back to back national champions and I also made the 75 man Outback squad as a rookie in 2015 but unfortunately wasn’t selected to travel to Canton. I come from Australian Rules Football which I have played all my life, the sport which helped me gain my powerful and accurate punting leg.”
First Australia vs Australia game in Europe
One date that all four of Dresden’s Aussies already have marked on their calendars is June 9. That will mark the first time that Australians will play against each other in a European league. Keil Baltic Hurricanes quarterback Jared Stegman is also Australia’s national team quarterback.
Playing in DDV Stadion against Kiel this year is something I really look forward to.”
Will this be the year for the Dresden Monarchs? It is far too early to predict but one thing is certain. There is no question that the Australian flavor of the team this year will go a long ways in deciding that.
Photo credit: BK Foto