European League of Football: Luke Zahradka and Milano Seamen part ways after six years

The Milano Seamen have announced that they will not be re-signing veteran quarterback Luke Zahradka for the 2024 European League of Football season.

Zahradka, who has just finished his sixth season with the Italian squad, is returning home to the US following his first season in the ELF.

The 32-year-old has been playing in Europe since 2014, first with the Kirchdorf Wildcats (Germany), and then a year in France with Amiens Spartiates. In 2015, he led the Ancona Dolphins to a 9-0-1 regular season record.

The Italian-American has been playing with the Seamen since 2017 and is a huge part of their history, bringing three Italian National Championships to Milan in five years.

In his first year in Milan, Zahradka passed for 2,154 yards and 23 touchdowns, sitting third in the league in both statistics. The following year, the 6’4½, 230 pound passer upped his game massively, going for 2,385 yards and a league-best 40 scores.

After three more years of dominant performances and mind-boggling numbers, Zahradka made the move from the IFL side to Milano’s newly-formed ELF team. He finished his tenure in the IFL having passed for 10,738 yards, 152 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions.

Their first ELF season saw a balance of impressive individual performances and questionable team play from the Seamen, winding up with a 2-10 record.

Individually, Zahradka continued his trend of huge numbers, passing for an impressive 3,518 yards and 25 touchdowns. While both of these statistics placed him within the top four across the league, moments of desperation from the struggling Italian team found him at the top of the wrong leaderboard, throwing 14 interceptions in his 12 appearances – a feat which becomes far less surprising when you consider both the quality of the Seamen’s defense and the fact that Zaharadka led the league in passing attempts by a significant margin.

Zahradka’s impact on the international American football landscape is not confined by the gridiron. In September 2022, Zahradka was named as a Global Flag Football ambassador, having the honor bestowed on him alongside NFL players such as Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and former New England Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest. With this, he became part of history as a member of the team that campaigned to have flag football involved in the 2028 Olympics.

Milano Seamen QB Luke Zahradka named Global Flag Football Ambassador

When asked about his departure from the Seamen, Zahradka said:

“Italy and the Seamen gave me so much, and I like to say I gave to the city too.”

Regardless of where Luke Zahradka’s career may take him in the future, and in what capacity he will be involved in the game, his services to American football in Europe place him among the greatest to play in Italy and he will undoubtedly be viewed as a Milano Seamen legend.

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.