Leijten re-signs for two more years as Head Coach of the Dresden Monarchs
The Dresden Monarchs may well be one of the most improved teams in the GFL (German Football League) over the last two years, and much credit has to go to head coach John Leijten who made a mark this past season on the team both on and off the field. The Monarchs reached the German semi-finals again and barely missed playing in the Eurobowl final.
They were constantly ranked among the top six teams in Europe all season and defeated perennial contender the Vienna Vikings in a shootout 41-35 during the Eurobowl tournament.
“In signing John Leijten last year we were fortunate. John is passionate, motivated and knows his football,” said Sören Glöckner, president of the Monarchs. “He has had an impact both on and off the field and we wanted him around for another two years. We made this decision as soon as we could to show everyone how serious we are. Our goal is to win the championship, and we believe John gives us that chance.”
Prior to signing with Dresden in 2013, Leijten was coaching in Australia, and as head coach of the Australian national team – The Outback – in 2011, surprised the world in the 2011 IFAF World Championships with the team’s performances against the top teams in the tournament.
Leijten’s coaching career started in 1991 when as defensive coordinator for the Tilburg Steelers, in Holland helped the club win the Dutch national championships in both 1991 and 1992 while reaching the playoff finals in 1994. From 1994 to 1999 he was head coach of the Vught Black Rhinos before moving to the Cologne Crocodiles in the German league in 2000 as defensive coordinator. The Crocodiles won the German Bowl that year and Leijten’s coaching skills were noticed by Jeff Reinebold, then defensive backs and special teams coach for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. Leijten joined Amsterdam in 2001 as running backs coach. He switched to linebackers with the Admirals teams that won the 2005 World Bowl championship, and made the championship final in 2006.
After the demise of the NFL Europa in 2007, Leijten returned to Australia. In 2008 Leijten organized football camps for junior players in Melbourne. He coached the Western Crusaders club side in Melbourne and Australia’s national team.
In 2009 Leijten acted as an interim defensive coach to prepare the Aix-En-Provence Argonauts for the 2009 French playoffs. The Argonauts reached the French semi final that year, where they were knocked out by the La Courneuve Flash.
Coach Leijten has set his sights on the title: “We fell short in 2014. We set a few goals as a team and organisation, and did not quite achieve two of them. That was very painful.”
This has not deterred him. “We will let this fuel us to improve in 2015 to achieve our ultimate goals. The club has built something special here over the past 10 years and I feel proud to be a part of it.”