AFI’s All-Europe Team: Head Coach – Marc Mattioli, Parma Panthers

The choice for head coach on the AFI All-Europe Team was not easy with so many excellent candidates, but the AFI panel looked to a person who had the greatest impact as a head coach.

It didn’t take long to realize that Marc Mattioli, the man in charge of the Parma Panthers was an outstanding choice. In 2021, the Parma Panthers won the Italian Bowl for the first time since 2013 and did it without losing a game all year. Leading from the front was Mattioli, bringing the Panthers back to the dominance they once held nearly a decade ago. With Mattioli at the helm, the Panthers knocked off the Milano Seamen, the team that has dominated football in Italy and been a force in Europe, for the past 10 years. And not only did they do it once, but they did it three times during the season including in the Italian title game.

This performance changed the landscape of football in Italy as year in and year out for the past decade the Seamen had removed any doubt as to who the top dog was in Italy. Until Mattioli came along at the beginning of the 2021 season. After time as a defensive backs coach at both Vanderbilt and Stanford (both NCAA DI, FBS), the American-Italian felt it was time to get out into the world and see what the international game had to offer.

Mattioli took his team on an undefeated crusade in Italy and did it by utilizing players in multiple ways allowed him to gain the edge over his opponents time and time again.

The young coach from Roswell, Georgia was the architect behind the league’s top scoring offense. He demanded not only assignment sound football but also versatility with all his stars playing both ways. 

His remarkable job in just his first year as head coach is why he is AFI’s choice for All-Europe Team Coach.


Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.