ELF: Homegrown Hero Series – Munich Ravens WR Marvin Rutsch

The final few weeks of the European League of Football have arrived in the ELF’s third season, as many European players continue to help the league grow and improve its level of play.

With that in mind, the ELF Homegrown Hero series aims to shine a light on those players outside of the US and Canada making an impact on the ELF.

One of the stories of the European League of Football this season has been the 4-4 Munich Ravens, as the expansion franchise has been able to shake up the league more than any other expansion team has this year.

One key part of the Ravens first ever off-season was bringing in German talent Marvin Rutsch. The veteran wide receiver won the 2021 ELF championship with the Frankfurt Galaxy and has been one of the league top domestic pass catchers since its inception.

This season, Rutsch became fifth all time in receptions in the ELF, notching 120 career catches for 1,136 yards and seven scores in 29 career games.

Now on the Ravens, Rutsch has been a key leader for Munich both on and off the field, notching 38 catches for 361 receiving yards, while scoring one  a receiving, rushing, and kick return touchdown this season. 

Prior to joining ELF in 2021, Rutsch suited up for the Munich Cowboys and the Marburg Mercenaries in the German Football League. After a stellar junior career as Bavarian all-star selection.

Rutsch sat down with us for a quick Q&A on his football journey and his thoughts on the 2023 season. 

AFI: How did you start playing football?

Rustch: I started playing football at the age of 14 for the Munich Rangers youth program after I was not as satisfied with playing soccer any more and good friends of mine asked me to come visit one of their practices. 

AFI: What is your goal through the sport?

Rustch: To name a specific goal through the sport is not so easily done. Obviously as a competitive player you want to win championships and perform well personally, the most important part of playing American football for me would be the strong bonds you build with so many people you meet along the way though. 

AFI: How does it feel to be one of the top Euro WR’s this season?

Rustch: I think to perform well as an American Football player you need to be very confident in your abilities. Having earned respect of my fellow players and thus building a certain reputation as one of the top Euro WRs obviously helps me contain this confidence on and off the field but it’s nothing that my mental toughness and resilience really depends on. 

AFI: How do you balance football and work and school?

Rustch: It’s not always easy to balance football with school and work. I’m still enrolled at university for my masters degree and I work as a self employed personal trainer so you really have to be good at managing your time. I start work at 6 in the morning and try to get most of my tasks done by 12 so that I have enough time to rest and eat before I go to meetings and practice in the afternoon. 

AFI: What’s your favorite football memory?

Rustch: Winning the first ever ELF championship in 2021 with Frankfurt Galaxy. I think that’s quite self explanatory for me.

AFI: What’s the future of football in Germany?

Rutsch: With how things have been moving forward since 2021 I believe the future of football in Germany is on a very good path. Obviously, Leipzig having financial problems mid season gives validation to those who don’t believe in the ELF and share the opinion that it won’t make it in the long run but I still strongly believe in the league und like to reference the early stages of the NFL where even there sometimes had to overcome financial issues as well. An important topic for me is that the youth programs in Germany should be growing with the ELF. I want to stress that even more than ever we have to put enough effort into having good youth programs too.

AFI: What’s it like playing in Munich again after your time with the Frankfurt Galaxy?

Rutsch: Frankfurt for a long time was my home, the team and fans are incredible and I will forever be very grateful and thankful for the love that I received from both. Obviously playing for my hometown team in front of my family and childhood friend is very special to me and with that a new chapter has begun for me which I try to embrace as much as possible. 

AFI: What made you choose the Ravens this off-season?

Rutsch: I wanted to be a part of building my hometown team and help the Ravens establish a culture of winning which I have known from Frankfurt. It’s a special journey for me and I want to play a big role in shaping the Munich Ravens.

AFI: How have things gone for the Ravens this season?

Rutsch: I feel like for a year 1 expansion team we are doing well. There obviously is always room for improvement and I can tell that our biggest weakness this year is our lack of experience. Although we are playing our first year we want to win games even against top teams like Rhein Fire and the Tirol Raiders for example. I believe we have shown that we can compete with those teams already but we are not satisfied with just that though. So far, we came just short in a few instances, like losing to the Raiders last week by just one point, and we want to win those games even in year 1. Being the best expansion team does not mean a whole lot to us because that was our minimum goal. 

AFI: What’s the goal of the Munich Ravens this year?

Rutsch: Obviously every team wants to play in the playoffs, so do we. As of now we are not in the playoff picture but crazier things have happened in Football. Other than that we want to stay as healthy as possible and set up the franchise for years to come. 

AFI: Any advice for young European players?

Rutsch: Keep grinding and put in the work. Consistency is key. IT WILL PAY OF EVENTUALLY!

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and