Dutch Lions, Holland’s national team, name Michael Williams as new head coach

The American Football Federation of the Netherlands (AFBN) has announced that Michael Williams is the new head coach of Holland’s Dutch Lions, the national team of the Netherlands.

Williams (48) began his career in Europe as player for the legendary Hamburg Blue Devils team of the early 1990s. Following coaching stints with the St. Gallen Raiders, Hamburg Blue Devils and the Hamburg Huskies, Williams landed in Kiel to become the head coach of the Baltic Hurricanes.

Mike returned to his native Canada and helped guide the York University Lions to three straight playoff appearances. Coming back to Germany in 2007, Mike has served in a number of coaching roles, including head coach, with the Frankfurt Universe during their climb to the upper ranks of GFL1.

In daily life, Michael is the country manager for Hudl, a company providing video review and performance analysis tools for sports teams and athletes at every level.

Photo: Karlheinz Herbert

When asked the reason for applying to be head coach of the Dutch Lions, Coach Williams was effusive:

” There were a few motivating factors behind me pursuing the Dutch Lions head coaching job. First and foremost, the Dutch Lions have a fantastic tradition in American Football in Europe with some strong results dating back to 1991 and a 3rd place finish in the EFAF European Championships. There are some tremendous football players and excellent coaches in the Netherlands and I wanted to use my many years of experience as a coach in Europe and in Canada on all different levels, from High School to Pro, and bring this to the Dutch Lions Senior Team and help this team get to the next level of being a top 10 ranked team in the world and one of the top teams in Europe, along with these great players and coaches.

On top of this, coaching on an international level is an absolute honor. Not many people can say they have been a head coach of a national team in any sport, and I take great pride in having the opportunity to be one of those few lucky people, so naturally, I gravitated towards this chance. I have many friends who I have coached with that have done this, like Patrick Esume for Team France, Chris Merritt for Team USA and Greg Marshall for Team Canada, and they all say the same thing, that it is an honor to be called a head coach at the national level.

Lastly, I have been fortunate enough to accomplish a lot in my playing and coaching career in Canada and Europe and have been a part of some great teams, winning championships on all levels (from National Champs to European Champs) but I have always wanted to leave a mark on the game as a whole, and getting the chance to be the HC of the Dutch Lions Sr Team, gives me that chance.

I always wanted the opportunity to help grow the game on a very high level and to affect the lives of many young players coming up in this great sport, and I will have a chance to do this in this role supporting the Dutch Junior Lions and their staff and helping to teach and grow the game all across the Netherlands at the grassroots level. This position is really a tremendous opportunity to top off my coaching career.”

The last time the Dutch Lions played was October, 2016 when they lost to Team Poland. Since then, Holland’s national team has been in a reorganization phase. Up until then, the team had been playing an average of two to three games per year making them one of the most active national American football programs not just in Europe, but in the world.



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