Eidsvoll 1814s bring QB Dustin Hawke Willingham back to Norway

The Eidsvoll 1814s have signed a new quarterback for the 2021 season, bringing in a player that is no stranger to success in Norway.

Dustin Hawke Willingham, a self-described football nomad, returns to the Nordic country five years after his last appearance, bringing his career to a total of 13 different teams in 14 different countries.

The 6’2″, 207 pound veteran passer first arrived in Europe more than a decade ago as a member of Germany’s Hamburg Huskies. After a stint with the Salzburg Bulls in Austria, he arrived in Norway to play for the Nidaros Domers. He spent four seasons in Trondheim as both the quarterback and coach before jumping to the Oslo Vikings in 2016, capturing the Norwegian championship.

In five seasons in Norway, Willingham was a three-time league All-Star and two-time MVP, success he hopes to replicate with Eidsvoll.

“I never thought I’d play in Norway again, but when Eidsvoll contacted me via Michael Hall and asked me to come and coach with him for a week to check out the 1814’s family I realized what an amazing environment and football community Eidsvoll has, from the president down to the youth players. I was in,” Willingham said.

“Covid hit and interrupted the plan to play there in 2020, as it’s done for many people and teams within the European American football community. Now that this is is officially happening, I’m working harder than I ever have to be ready for this coming Norwegian season.”

Willingham left Norway in 2017 to join the Bolzano Giants of Italy, where he led the league by throwing for 2,800 yards and scoring 37 total touchdowns. He has since played for Hungary’s Gyor Sharks and coached the Krakow Kings and Budapest Cowbells. After an opportunity with the Berlin Rebels was canceled along with the GFL season, Willingham spent part of 2020 in Poland with the Bydgoszcz Archers, but left the club midway through the season and landed with the Zaragoza Hurricanes of Spain for 2021, leading the team to a much improved 4-4 record.

“I’m playing until I can’t play anymore because winning a championship was the greatest feeling I’ve ever known. I can’t walk away from the game until I’ve won a couple more and anything less is a major disappointment for me personally,” Willingham added.

“The last time I played a game in Norway we won the national championship against Eidsvoll and now I’m with the 1814s. The expectation for this club is championship or bust and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Prior to his time in Europe, Willingham began his college career with the University of Tulsa after initially trying his luck as a baseball player. He found success with Fort Scott Community College, before transferring to Southwest Baptist University and later California Lutheran.

The season in Norway kicks off on September 5 and winds up with the Norwegian Championship Game on November 27.

J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.