ELF: Paris Musketeers host Stuttgart Surge in first home game of the season

Today, the Paris Musketeers will host the Stuttgart Surge in their first European League of Football (ELF) home game of the season after securing a painstakingly close victory in Cologne last week.

The Musketeers garnered plenty of buzz coming into the 2023 season, and rightfully so after signing arguably the best players from last year in quarterback Zach Edwards and wideout Kyle Sweet. The two put on a show, topping their respective position’s leaderboard as well as dragging the Barcelona Dragons into the playoffs. Their Week 1 outing was a far cry from that however as Edwards struggled with an offensive line that allowed him to get sacked eight times.

On the upside however, the Musketeers were able to secure a huge signing in Keanu Ebanks this past week which should mitigate against some of those protection issues. Another plus from the opening week was the play of their defense. The Parisians flew around the field with speed and aggression limiting Cologne to just 60 rushing yards and 130 passing yards, dispelling any myth around France not having the domestic talent for ELF.

Paris‘ opening (and exciting) victory came in the dying moments of the game, but it was messy. They, of course, have an undeniably talented and deep roster, but pulling that together will be tasked to head coach Marc Mattioli throughout the season.

And without much further ado, let’s introduce the challenger: the Stuttgart Surge. The drama surrounding this team in the offseason has been impossible to ignore. After two horrific seasons in the ELF, the Surge recruited longtime Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns’ head coach Jordan Neuman to change the fortunes of the team. And with him, Neuman has brought no less than 30 players from the GFL powerhouse.

Going through the Unicorns roster is a who’s who of Schwäbisch Hall stars over the years – which is testament to Neuman’s ability to forge relationships. However, this could be a carbon copy of what happened to Paris last week, a whole load of bark but not a lot of bite. As we all know, it takes a long time to build chemistry within a team. How will the Unicorns’ players, a group of players who have been told they are the best team in Europe for years, gel with the Surge vets, a team who have been told the opposite?

Either way, this has surely shaped up to be one of the most highly anticipated games of the weekend. Both these teams were circled as dark horses for the 2023 season. Let’s see which one of them has the ability to back it up.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.