Belgian Barbarians, national team of Belgium, gearing up for busy fall

Despite a setback in scheduling, the Belgian Barbarians, Belgium’s national American football team, is getting set for a busy fall schedule.

Head coach Lee Rosky and general manager Christophe Olenaed have two games on tap. They are scheduled to face Team Spain on August 19 in Belgium and then will take on the Russian national team at the International School of Brussels on October 21. A game previously scheduled against the Dutch Lions, the Dutch national team, was abruptly cancelled last week by the Dutch federation.

Needless to say, Rosky was taken by surprise with the cancellation:

“We do not know the reason but now we have been scrambling to try to fill that date. There are a few options and we are exploring them but we are open to others.”

Nevertheless, Rosky and his staff, who have been working together for the past three years, held a combine this past weekend with 140 players in attendance.

For this year’s combine, anyone who wanted to participate was invited. There were 140 players registered including 70 who were new to the program. However, the purpose of the Combine goes beyond creating a national team.

Rosky explains:

“The Barbarians’ mission is to increase the level of football in this country. It [the Combine] gives the opportunity to a guy who doesn’t stand out on his team to show us something.”

The combine had testing in the morning followed by a full gear session in the afternoon.

The Barbarians have been one of the busiest national teams in Europe since Rosky took over in 2014, playing between two and four games a year. Last year they beat both Spain and Hungary. In 2015, they played four games including a tough loss to Holland in a European qualifier in front of almost 5,000 roaring Dutch fans.

Rosky:

“We have maintained the same core of coaches over the past four years including our defensive coordinator, Jean Marc Bottin and offensive coordinator, Pauwel Depreitere. And then there is myself and Christophe Olenaed.”

The work of Rosky and crew has not gone unnoticed.

“We are finally getting noticed by some sponsors. Hudl has helped us out along with Bell Tours Bus Company. We have other companies expressing interest and we are extremely optimistic. We are all really proud of this little program but we have our eyes down the road on what we could become if we keep building and doing things right. It is exciting to be a part of the Belgian National Team.”

 

AFI
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