Alpha Jalloh continued his European journey with a pandemic year to remember

If you watched football in Europe during this pandemic summer, one name kept popping out.

Alpha Jalloh

Jalloh’s 2020 seasons was simply outstanding. It started off with the Wasa Royals in Finland marking his second season with the team. Jalloh came back to Finland after the initially signing with the Ingolstadt Dukes of the German Football League. After the cancellation of the season in Germany, the Maryland native was back in Wasa’s red and gold. Jalloh dominated the short Finnish Maple League season helping his team reach the semi-finals. Jalloh was named MVP of the 2020 season in Finland after the 6’1 receiver had accumulated 1,013 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns in only six games.

Jalloh was grateful for his season in Finland.

“This past season in Wasa was cool experience. I got to work with the best coach in Europe, John Booker, not knocking any other coaches. But John Booker knows everything and learning from him was great.”

Don’t think the former Liberty University (NCAA FCS) walk on was satisfied. As soon as the Finnish season ended, Jalloh made another return to a former club by joining the Stockholm Mean Machines once again. Jalloh had been a key part of the Stockholm team’s 2019 Swedish Superserien national championship. Unfortunately, Jalloh and company were unable to achieve a three peat and lost a heart breaker to the Carlstad Crusaders in the title game. Jalloh had been a part of the Crusaders championship team back in 2017.

“The season was cool; I met some cool new players. It was really competitive even though there were only four teams in the top league.”

Photo: Liberty University

As a youngster, Jalloh and his parents immigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone, Africa. Jalloh was raised in Prince Georges Country, Maryland and initially chose to attend Stevenson University in Maryland. After a stellar high school football and wrestling career at Annapolis Area Christian High School, the 6’1 receiver received interest from several division one and division two programs. Unfortunately, due to a poor SAT score and a desire to play immediately, he chose Stevenson. The Stevenson Mustangs football program was a division three team with a brand new program and was only in its second year of existence at the time of Jalloh’s arrival in 2012.

“My SAT scores weren’t that great, so I couldn’t accept any of the division one offers I had. But I wanted to play right away. So I chose Stevenson to be place I could go to see if I had success, and if not I would transfer to Liberty. “

In one season at Stevenson, Jalloh made 19 tackles and an interception for the Mustangs before transferring to Liberty University in nearby Lynchburg, Virginia. Jalloh felt more comfortable in an academic environment that emphasized his Christian values and spirituality as a opposed the secular school environment he experienced at Stevenson University. His new home, Liberty University was a college with strong evangelical Christian ties not to mention  impressive football tradition.

“I kinda used Stevenson as a juco route for me. Liberty University is Christian university, I’m a Christian myself and I believe that God led me to go to Liberty University. It was a great decision!”

Alpha Jalloh #7 was a key to the Carlstad Crusaders 2017 Swedish title Photo: Hans Cullberg

The Liberty Flames had actually recruited Jalloh back in high school, but by the time he arrived, the coaches who had written him letters were almost all gone and s0 he had to walk on, starting from the bottom the roster.

“It wasn’t all easy for me to transfer there. Liberty had recruited me but not offered me a scholarship. All those recruiting coaches were gone except for one, that is what got me in the door. I earned my full scholarship after my first full season there.”

At Liberty. Jalloh shined as a defensive back earning All-Conference honors his senior year and leading the team in interceptions the season prior. The former Stevenson University Mustang showed his athleticism as a kick returner as well. Jalloh finished his career at Liberty with 115 career tackles, four interceptions, and a conference championship. Jalloh is especially thankful to defensive coordinator Robert Wimbley (now at Northern Illinois) who he saw as mentor on and off the field.

“Coach Wimberly, he was a man who poured into my life and I aspire to be like him off the field as a man, respect him a lot. He helped me be the man that I am today.”

After competing in a pro day and not hearing from any NFL or CFL coaches the former All-Conference safety was without a team. Jalloh soon found out about playing football abroad from a childhood friend Darius Lewis (currently playing for the Carlstad Crusaders). The Swedish champion Crusaders reached out to Jalloh and put him in contact with one of their former players Josh Haritgan.

“Josh Hartigan! He sold me on the message of Carlstad is a small town, I love small towns, and they are one of the best teams in Europe. When I came out there in 2017..oh my gosh those boys could ball. They didn’t even need me on the team.”

Stockholm Mean Machines Alpha Jalloh splitting the Carstad defenders and hauling in a TD pass in 2018 as Carlstad coach Tracey Gere looks on in dismay Photo: Stefan Akander

As could be surmised, Jalloh joined the powerful Crusaders team and helped them win the Swedish Superserien title in 2017. This first Swedish championship in Jalloh’s European career steered him in the right direction. After considering arena football, he chose to return to Europe, this time with the Thonon Black Panthers in France, but left due to a contract dispute and went straight back to Sweden, joining the Göteborg Marvels. After one season with the Marvels, he spent the last two seasons playing for the Mean Machines, winning another title in the process, and also in neighboring Finland for the Wasa Royals. The Maryland native has certainly become a fan of the Scandinavian way of life.

“I love living in Sweden, I think all the Scandinavian countries are great, but Sweden is probably number 1. If you are born in one these countries it’s like you won the lottery. The people there they treat us really well. I think Sweden is the best country in the world.”

Unsurprisingly the two-time Swedish Superserien Champion has resigned to play the 2021 season in his new home of Sweden. But this time he’ll be suiting up for Helsingborg Jaguars. The Jaguars are a team in the Swedish second division. Jalloh plans on teaming up with head coach Greg Gibson and building up the Helsingborg program the right way.

The Scandinavian all-star explains why he chose to play in a lower division:

“Its more than about me, it’s about the future that I want to live up to. I want to be with a team where we can grow the youth program, and grow the senior team to be the best club team in Europe. That’s the whole goal and vison of signing with Helsingborg. We have a promising future of going to the Superserien.”

So, although he may be out of the limelight of top division football this coming season, he will continue to have a far-reaching impact.

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