Norway’s Eidsvoll 1814s sign Michael Hall as head coach

The Eidsvoll 1814s, one of the most successful teams in Norwegian American football, have signed Michael Hall as their new head coach for the 2018 season.

Hall, who takes over from TJ Reap, will also continue playing at his linebacker/running back spot. He has been playing and coaching in Europe since 2013 but is in his second season with the 1814s having helped the team reach the Norwegian final in 2017.

The 27 year old Hall was an All American linebacker at Missouri Valley College (NAIA) before signing with the Ravensburg Razorbacks (German Football League 2) in 2013. he went on to play for the Munich Rangers and Bielefield Bulldogs, also in the GFL2 before signing with the Bialystok Lowlanders in Poland. He also played in the Ukraine for the Minsk Zubrs before signing with Eidsvoll. This will be the first time he takes on the dual role of head coach and player.

American Football International: What made you decide to become head coach for Eidsvoll?

Michael Hall: Well I had a great year here in 2017. I really enjoy the kids I coach on the youth teams and my teammates on the Elite level. I’ve developed a good bond with the guys here in Eidsvoll and the organization is the one of the best I have been with. I have always felt very welcomed and comfortable here in Eidsvoll. The program is in a great time of growth and strength. There is nothing but good things in the future for Eidsvoll 1814’s so it was a no brainer when the board asked me to come back as the HC of the program in 2018. Everything about the Eidsvoll 1814’s was a good situation for me and I look forward to leading my team in battle for the 2018 season.

AFI: You have been playing in Europe since 2013. Can you fill us in on where you have been?

Hall: Yes I have been here since 2013 and it’s been an amazing journey. My first Europe American Football experience was in the summer of 2013 when the GFL 2 South Ravensburg Razorbacks contacted me and signed me for the 2013 season. We had a great season finishing tied for third in the division in Ravensburg’s first year ever in the GFL 2. From there I went to the Munich Rangers in the summer of 2014. We won the regional league Championship and advanced the Rangers to the GFL2 South in 2015. In 2015, i made another switch for the summer of 2015 to play in the GFL 2 North with the Bielefeld Bulldogs. We had an injury plagued season for our imports and German players but still managed to keep the team in the GFL 2 North.

The next year I went to the Polish first division to play with the Bialystok Lowlanders for the 2016 season. We also had our fair share or injuries to our Polish players but made it to the semifinal and lost by 1 point to just miss the final. After the Polish season I planned on going home but then received a call from the Minsk Zubrs in Belarus to come there and help finish out their season in the Ukrainian league and play in the Baltic Sea League. It was a great opportunity to keep playing ball and we went on to win the 2016 Ukrainian championship and 2016 Baltic Sea League Championship. Great season of really hard workers. Then it brings me to my past season in Norway’s first division with the Eidsvoll 1814’s. We had many bad injuries but still made it to the Norwegian final and took 2nd in the league.

We are primed and ready to make a big impact on the 2018 season and get that Norwegian Championship title back to Eidsvoll!!

AFI: What has been the highlight of your European career so far?

Hall: The biggest highlight of my career would be the 3 championships I won during my time. Another big highlight is all the amazing places I have gotten to see and travel to because I have lived here in Europe with the opportunity to travel and see the world.

AFI: Can you explain the differences in football between the various countries you have played in?

Hall: The league’s all had different import rules. In Germany you can have four Americans and 2 on the field at once plus European imports as well. In Poland, only four non Polish imports were allowed and two on the field at one time. In the Ukrainian league and Baltic Sea League there was no limit on the number of import players you can use. Norway has a one import per team rule.

Another difference is the budgets and availability of getting funding for import players and coaches. Places like the German Football League do a great job of getting sponsors and funds to get import players and coaches. As opposed to places like Ukraine that our in a lesser economy and find trouble to raise the same amounts of money as German teams.

A similarity is that all leagues played by the same college rules as in the college football in America. Another similarity is that I see good growth in all the leagues and in American Football in general around Europe. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in Europe and its on the rise. Germany and Austria are the most developed leagues and teams in Europe. Poland is quickly expanding its League and playing to big crowds and nice stadiums. Ukraine and Belarus are making big steps to build up their leagues and their national teams. They are making great steps to build the football knowledge and skills of all players. In Norway the league is in a bit of a rebuilding stage but they have made great advancements this past year having a nationally televised game for the Norwegian Championship.

AFI: How difficult will it be to be head coach while still on the field?

Hall: I feel like it won’t be that difficult. I have always called the defense of every team I played on from the field and with the offense we have a great qb in Wilhelm Domaas and together we will call plays for the offense with a predetermined game plan. Also we have a great group of guys here in Eidsvoll and play well as a team. So with all the great players around me it will be much easier task as HC. I look forward to the challenge of leading my team as a player and head coach for 2018 season.

AFI: Have you had a chance to do much travel and if so can you tell us about your favorite trips?

Hall: Yes, i have traveled quite a bit during my time here in Europe. It’s one of the major reasons I have chosen to keep playing in Europe is to have the opportunity to travel and see the world. My favorite city to visit has been Barcelona, Spain. Such an incredible city with amazing architecture and history. There is always something happening or something to do in Barcelona and it has one of the greatest cathedrals I have ever seen in the La Sagrada Familia.

My favorite thing I have seen is the Colosseum in Rome. It’s such a gigantic structure and built so long ago, it’s amazing! The history of Rome is one of the greatest in world history. It was a world empire at one time. The monuments there have stood the test of time and it’s a must see for anyone visiting in Italy.

I’ve visited to 25 countries so far and i hope to see many more.

AFI: What is your first priority as head coach?

Hall: My first priority is recruiting for the youth and elite teams. The more Norwegian players we get involved with our program the more successful we can be. I’m a firm believer in “competition breeds success”. So the more players we get competing for starting spots, the faster our team will improve and grow.

AFI: What are your expectations?

Hall: I always expect to win a championship. If you’re not confident in your team how can they be confident in themselves. We have a great group of guys returning and some guys coming back from injuries in a previous season. We will have a strong and competitive team for the 2018 season at all levels. (Elite, U19, U17, U15)

AFI:  What do you bring to the team?

Hall: I bring first and foremost leadership to the club as a whole. On the field I lead by example and play with a very aggressive style that makes the teammates around me better. I have a great defensive mind and that helps me offensively as well to know how to attack a defense’s weak points. I’m very well conditioned so playing both ways is not a problem for me and that helps raise the level of our teams play on both sides of the ball. I bring a Championship Mentality with me wherever i go and in anything i do. I’ve won championships in college, Europe, and in other sports as a high school athlete in America. I look forward to bringing more championships to the Eidsvoll 1814’s!!

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