Dario Dobrolevski: An MVP’s comeback story

When the Badalona Dracs returned to the field on January 31 against the Mallorca Voltors in the Spanish League of American Football, one thing was clear –  this was not the same Dracs team that took the field on the opening weekend of the season in December.

There were a few new faces and one of them was Austrian receiver Dario Dobrolevski. The newly signed import was not shy introducing himself to the Spanish league on that day. He had 85 yards receiving and two touchdowns as the Dracs cruised to 37-14 victory.

The Dracs’ newest receiver was not completely satisfied with his performance and looks for improvement:

“ So basically I came two days [before the game], and it was a lot of new stuff. It was an okay game I would say, we definitely have to step up and be better for the next one!”

Dario Dobrolevski in his first game with the Badalona Dracs Photo: Joan Sancho – Fotoart

The 27-year-old’s football journey started near his home town of Villach in southern Austria. The first time he suited up it was at quarterback for the Carinthian Black Lions youth team. As a member of the Black Lions, Dobrolevski played both ways often switching positions and building valuable versatility. As he got older his body grew as he started to fill out his 6’2″ frame. Soon he was playing defensive end and quarterback for his squad.

“ I always had to play on offense and defense  because we didn’t have so much people  So I was playing multiple positions on defense like safety, cb and outside lb. With time I got  pretty big and I started playing defensive end on defense which I really enjoyed.”

After a leading his team to win the Silver Bowl, Austria’s second division championship as the team’s dangerous dual threat quarterback. The 18-year-old’s athleticism caught the eyes of national team coaches. Soon he was part of the 2012 U19 Austrian national team this time rushing the passer as a quick and slippery defensive end. The Silver Bowl MVP wasn’t done collecting championships as his role at defensive end helped the Austrian U19 team win the European championship that year. The next year, Dobrolevski played in the 2013 European FBU All-Star game in Texas against some of the best high school players in the United States.

Dobrolevski played for the Mödling Rangers of the Austrian Football League in 2016 Photo: Mödling Rangers

After a break from football to serve his country’s mandatory military duty. The young Austrian ventured out from his small hometown moving to the big city, settling in his country’s capital of Vienna on a mission to get back to doing what he loved on the field. In 2016, Dobrolevski joined the Mödling Rangers of the Austrian Football League. This time though, he was lining up at wide receiver for the first time.

“I signed with the Mödling Rangers where they moved me to receiver.  I had never played receiver before but I liked it a lot.”

Dobrolevski played receiver like a veteran, running crisp routes, showing strong hands, and throwing physical blocks. In only 10 games for the Rangers, the Austrian Football League rookie put up 939 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. These stats were good enough to get the Villach native the offensive MVP award for the 2016 Austrian Football League season.

After his successful season in Austria, Dobrolevski wanted to reach new heights within the American football scene. In 2017, the reigning AFL MVP signed with the nearby Allgäu Comets of the German Football League.

“ I wanted to keep improving and play in the GFL so I signed with the Allgäu Comets. The first 3 games went really good for me.”

Due to a knee injury, he was only able to play five games in Germany’s top league. In those five games however, Dobrolevski showed the talents that made him the MVP in Austria the year prior catching two touchdowns and finishing with 306 yards in limited snaps.

Dario Dobrolevski spent the 2017 season with the Allgau Comets in the German Football League Photo: Shakral Photography

After the injury, Dobrolevski moved to London to pursue a burgeoning modelling career, all the while keeping one eye on the American football scene in Europe. In 2019, the football itch was back, and Doblevski was back on the field. This time flying from London to play games for the Dusseldorf Panther in Germany. Dobrolevski finished the season with 112 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. After a pandemic cancelled 2020 Austrian Football League season. Dobroleski made his way to the Badalona Dracs in sunny Spain.

“Now I signed with the Badalona Dracs in Spain. I enjoy being here, it’s a great team with a lot of talent the goal is of course to win the Spanish championship.”

Now in 2021, Dobrolevski is healthy and focused on football, eager to show Europe the player he can be. His future football goals are to get back to being the impactful player he was and strive to be a player that inspires European players across the continent to reach for new heights.

“My goal for the future is to try out for the Canadian Football League and get a spot on a roster.”

Alex Malchow
Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football stories from across the globe.
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