Team Austria HC Max Sommer: “A proud team on a mission”

Head coach Max Sommer leads the Team Austria onto the field today, Sunday, October 23 against an eager Hungarian team in Donaufeld, Austria in Hungary’s first ever game in the International Federation of American Football Group A European Qualification tournament.

Sommer and the Austrians seem to have a special squad this year as they dominated France 35-7 earlier this month. This is a team filled with veterans such as Thomas Schnurrer, Alex Thury, and Florian Wegen team but which also features young talents like Jan-Philipp Bombek, Noah Toure, and others.

Sommer and the Austrian squad have been building something special as the dominant win over France comes after wins against Denmark and Serbia last year. Now he looks to get his team ready for Hungary and to compete for Gold in the 2023 IFAF European Championships.

Before Austria’s big game in Hungary, head coach Max Summer sat down with us for a quick Q&A.

AFI: What were the takeaways from your dominant win over France?

Sommer:  We have a very talented football team with depth in our roster. We had five potential starters on offense and one on defense missing and still were able to dominate the game. Especially the first half, it was a great showing of our team. We were able to make plays in all three phases and were able to get everybody on the roster significant playing time, which will was a great experience also in terms of building our team for future challenges.

AFI: Who are some new players contributing to this year’s team?

Sommer: Leon Balogh (DE) played his first ever mens national team game after dominating on national and international club level for some years. Also, defensive end Jan-Philipp Bombek who spent two years at Colorado State (NCAA D1) debuted for us last week. Ruben Seeber, captain of the Tirol Raiders also had his first national team game at linebacker. Another defender, Christoph Nitzlnader,  who was nominated for ELF Defensive Rookie of the year had a lock down game at cornerback.

On offense Jojo Schütz and Noah Toure had great games for being first and second year players on the national team. Another receiver, Michael Schachermayer who had a great Austrian Football League season also scored his first national team touchdown against France. Raphael Komeyli the youngest player on our roster, who just dominated at the U19 European championships in Vienna also contributed against France at receiver.

AFI: On the flip side, there are a ton of veterans in this team. What’s it like to lean on that experience as a coaching staff?

Sommer: We have a great mix of vets and newcomers. But the one thing we have in common is that everybody is chasing that first Austrian European championship title to make history for our country. Thomas Schnurrer, Luis Horvath, Philipp Haun, Alex Thury, Michael Haider, Bernhard Mosor are for sure elite national team captains who lead our team in great fashion.

AFI: What are you looking for your team to do well against Hungary?

Sommer: Improve from our mistakes we made in France. We left a lot of points out there. We also will have to make up for some star players who are not available due to injuries. The young guys will need to step up and show, that they play to the high standards we have set at this team Austria. We really want to play fast and focused from first to last snap and show our fans in the stands and in front of the screens, that Team Austria is a great and proud team which is on a mission.

AFI: What makes this year’s squad special?

SommerThe commitment to our common goal… a European Championship. The brotherhood and camaraderie which has been developed through the last decade of the U19 and Men’s National teams. A coaching staff that is all Austrian, and I am counting Coach Calaycay and Coach Herron as Austrian coaches by now. Our team and staff are working like pros on the field and have great love for the game and our team. We enjoy being together and enjoy the process of becoming the very best team we can possibly be. #Goaustria!”

Read more about Max Sommer here

Team Hungary @ Team Austria, Oct. 23, 13:00 CET (1 pm, 7 am ET)

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and