ELF: Austrian football legend Thomas Schnurrer announces retirement

European League of Football champion and all-star Thomas Schnurrer has announced his retirement from the sport after suffering a broken tibia in the Vienna Vikings’ opening game this season.

The 28-year-old linebacker came through the youth program of the Austrian Football League’s Graz Giants before signing for the first team, spending a total of 13 seasons with the team from 2009-2021. Schnurrer won a Junior European Championship with Austria before going on to win five consecutive team MVP awards for the Giants, resulting in Schnurrer being inducted into his team’s Hall of Fame.

Photo: Peter Kramberger

Widely considered one of the greatest Austrian players ever, the national team captain has won nearly everything there is to win in Europe. While playing for the Giants, Schnurrer won a CEFL Bowl, led the league in tackles twice, and was awarded defensive MVP four straight years (‘16-’19). He signed with the Vienna Vikings for their opening ELF season in 2022 and had an instant impact on the league, helping his team win their first championship while being named as an ELF All-Star starter.

Photo: Marina Kunzfeld

In his lone ELF season, the 6’0, 210 pound linebacker racked up 126 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and eight pass breakups, a forced-fumble and recovery in his 14 games.

Max Sommer, head coach of the Austrian national team, spoke highly of Schnurrer;

“With Thomas Schnurrer, our national team not only loses one of the best football players in Europe, but also one of our captains, who have supported us with great personal commitment on the way to the European Championship title in recent years have led. Thomas shaped a whole generation with his playing style, but also with his personality and will be a role model for Austria’s football talents long after his career ends. On behalf of the entire community, I would like to thank him for his commitment to Team Austria and I hope to be able to count on his services in the future, then as a coach.”

Despite its bitter end, Thomas Schnurrer’s career will always be seen one of the most successful in European Football. 

A current student at Bournemouth University as well as a quarterback with eight years of playing experience. Brad's goal is to be a part of the growth of the game around the world through journalism and media.