ELF: Prague Lions host talent-laden tryout

The Prague Lions are one of the four new teams joining the European League of Football next season, adding the Czech Republic and more eastern flavor to the continental mixture.

Head coach Zach Harrod hopes to build his accomplished roster for the new challenge of the ELF after years of success and a 2022 championship in the Czech League.  In the search for new talent, the Lions program held a tryout hosting a variety of talent from the Prague area and beyond.

“I’m really proud of our group, our first event as an ELF franchise was a great success.  Several players who have been to camps or combines in the States, said the organizational was done at a high level like in the States.” -Coach Harrod

One of the standouts of the day was American defensive back Alex Spillum. The former division one defensive back played in 46 games over his career at Coastal Carolina tallying 184 tackles, including 101 solo stops and 83 assisted tackles, to go along with 5.5 tackles-for-loss, 1.0 sacks, seven interceptions, 17 passes defended, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and two blocked kicks.

The two-time All-Sun Belt conference defender is fresh off a championship season with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns where he joined the team just prior the end of the regular season. The late addition paid off as Spillum made several big plays in the postseason including a clutch interception in the German Bowl. Yet, he was hardly the only international talent competing as players from Germany, Switzerland, Poland, the UK, and even Morocco showcased their abilities.

Photo: Prague Lions

“We had guys fly in from the States and all over Europe fighting for a spot in the Prague Lions, I loved watching the guys compete“ -Coach Harrod

Another German Bowl champion testing the ELF waters was Swiss national team linebacker Jonathan Falk. Behind center, Polish national team quarterback Mateusz Wiechec of the Krakow Kings also performed well throwing the ball with accuracy. Former NFL International combine invite Samson Alabi of the UK showed his strength as he raised his eyebrows with his impressive showing in the bench press.

“Now we have some guys on our recruiting board both from Americans, Europeans and Czechs that we didn’t have on our recruiting board before.  That means it was a great success”. -Coach Harrod

Samson Alabi – Photo: Prague Lions

The fastest player at the event was home grown Czech talent Denny Doucek recording a 4.76 40-yard dash. Moroccan National team athlete Zac Oueldsidi also showed off speed and quickness in drills, showing that he could be a versatile weapon. 

The Lions had about 160 players sign up for the tryout prior to the event. However, a lower number than anticipated arrived on the day.  Yet, Coach Harrod still sees the combine as the success that it was.

“I would have loved to see more of the 160+ that signed up, show up, but that was a lot of guys wanting to get their names and highlights in front of us, you can’t fault them for that.“ – Coach Harrod

Photo Prague Lions

Of course, there was a ton of Czech talent in attendance as well including returning Lions player Leos Jambor. Veterans from across the Czech football scene could be interested in joining the Lions

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football