American Football International

2015 Season Preview: Portugal – Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano (LPFA)

[tps_title]2015 Season Preview – Portugal[/tps_title]

The Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano (LPFA) kicks off in Olivais, Portugal on January 10.

The Lisboa Devils will face the Crusaders Futebol Americano in the opening game of the season and a South Conference match up. Both teams know each other very well.

The game will be streamed on Youtube by Review-Sports.

Here is a preview of the 2015 Portuguese teams.

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – South Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Lisboa Navigators[/tps_header]

The Navigators are the five time champion of the Portuguese League (LPFA). They have only lost one game in five years and have been by far the best team in Portugal over that time period.

The Navigators head coach is Amílcar Piedade and they have a number of players who have been with the team since the start of the LPFA. Players of note include quarterback José Pedro, who has been with the Navigators for the last seven years, fullback Filipe Grangeiro, one of the most feared players in the league, and the defensive captain André Monteiro.

This year they have lost one of their most influential players, Marco Madeira,who has retired although he still practices with the team. This year won’t be easy for the Navigators as they are entering a rebuilding phase with many of the veterans stepping down.

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – South Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Lisboa Devils[/tps_header]

The Devils are a second year team who have made good progress. Head coach André Amorim works side by side with the coach Anthony Skinner  in guiding the future for this young team.

One player to look for is João Almeida a young player who was one of the most exciting players in the league in 2014 scoring a touchdowns on special teams and off of turnovers. Also look for their 6′ 4″, 200 lb. quarterback, Bernardo Solipa, to be a force in 2015.

In preparation for the LPFA they have played and beaten (15-7) the Maximinos Warriors, last year’s finalists, in a win that shows that this team has something to say for the league’s sixth edition. All around the Devils have the largest roster in the league, with many young players but they lack experience on the field and that will be the issue for this team coming up the LPFA VI.

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – South Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Algarve Sharks[/tps_header]

This will be the first season for the Sharks in the LPFA. They have been building the club since 2008 but only assembled the funds and sponsorship to get the team going. They are coached by Pedro Viana who was the offensive coordinator for the Algarve Pirates in the past. Their players are new to the league but some players have come from the Algarve Pirates and will add some much needed experience and guidance for this young team.

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – South Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Algarve Pirates[/tps_header]

Entering their third year in the LPFA, the Pirates will be a team to look out for. Coached by Don Dixon and Michael Reeve this team has a lot of young and talented players. Playing in Portimão, their biggest problem is finding players and sponsorship to help this team grow.

In the past two years they have come close to making the playoffs but almost will not be good enough for this upcoming season. With some of the players now having gained a few years of experience, Davi Martins, Cláudio Gordinho and Jonathan Miron will lead this team into what they expect will be a productive season.

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – South Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Crusaders CFA[/tps_header]

The Crusaders have been in the top league since its inception six years ago. They are a tough and physical team that plays hard-nosed football. They are coached by Grant Shields and are led on the field by two-time MVP Juzz Tiny. Other players well known around the league include American wide receiver Tanner Head, quarterback António Pedro and one of the most underrated players in the league two-way lineman Veríssimo Mota.

In the past three years, the Crusaders have fallen short of the championship game and this year will be a ‘make or break’ year for this team that is in the line of succession for the Navigators. This pre-season the Crusaders defeated the Porto Mutts 20-6. This was a major triumph for this team entering the LPFA VI season.

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – North Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Porto Renegades[/tps_header]

The Renegades are the oldest team in Portugal and are coming off of their best year in the league. They are coached by João Ferreira and they have a group of players that have been playing together for quite some years. The Renegades have never made the playoffs but this year they will be in the hunt. In fact, look for Sport to be one of the main competitors for the top spots in the North group and to have something to say regarding the championship game. One player to look for is Ricardo Serra, a Portuguese player with some international experience.

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – North Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Porto Mutts[/tps_header]

The Mutts are a team that doesn’t need introduction in Portugal. They have one of the biggest offensive lines in the country and a defense that is packed with tackling and hitting machines. They are coached by João “Train” Marques who is also one of the best players in the league. They are known for a “run and pound” kind of game on offense and that will be the issue for this team coming into 2015. They need to be more creative and they need to get big plays from their big players.

The Mutts have invested a great deal in marketing and promotion this year and that is starting to show as new players and new coaches have been added.  After a disappointing 2014 season, Porto is looking to be a contender for the championship this upcoming season.

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – North Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Paredes Lumberjacks[/tps_header]

Th Paredes Lumberjacks is now starting to come together after undergoing a rebuilding period. After reaching two championship games (2010 and 2011) some of the veteran players left the team while new blood was added.  Three years have passed and with Michael Davis entering his second year coaching this team, look for the Lumberjacks to be “back in business”.

The Lumberjacks defense is packed with some of the best players in Portugal, including defensive lineman Rafael Nunes, linebacker Paulo Barros and defensive halfback Jonathan Mendes. They just need to get the same production from their offense and add some playmaker ability to specific positions. Never count the Lumberjacks out of contention for the championship game.

Photo: Miguel Martins

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – North Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Maximinos Warriors[/tps_header]

The Warriors are probably the most underrated team in Portugal. Last year they surprised everyone and reached the championship game. However, they lost (for the second time in three years) against the Navigators in a tough game.

They are coached by Michael Andrzekewski for the fourth consecutive year and look for this team to be as “good as always”. On offense you need to acknowledge their quarterback João Pitrez, who plays behind one of the best offensive lines in the country. On the defensive side, Ricardo Pereira – also their defensive coordinator – and Bruno Panta are the names to be remember. They have a number of rookies coming into the upcoming season but look for this team to get better as the season progresses.

[tps_title]Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – North Conference[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Maia Mustangs[/tps_header]

A second year team, the Mustangs will be a “tough bone to chew” in the LPFA VI. They are coached by Andy Milam and have a large roster considering their location. They have some young players and they are led on offense by American quarterback Micah Milam. David Barker is a name most offenses in Portugal remember as he is the mainstay of the Mustangs defensive line. Last year they felt short of the playoffs but look for this team to rebound this year with a more experienced group of players who will be “hungry”.

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