European League of Football: Playing GM – Milano Seamen

The 2023 European League of Football season has finished but for someone who loves the offseason just as much, this doesn’t mean the end of the fun.

The off-season provides the free agency period, and with the structure of ELF contracts, many players are only signed for one year. This means that we could have teams completely overhaul their whole organization. Hence the idea of this series.

To start the series, we will go to a franchise that has struggled in its first year and a team that is going to need massive changes. Since the league hasn’t stated if we are moving from a 4×6 to a 4×4 on American and European slots we will treat it as if the current regulations are still in place. Lastly, this isn’t a hit piece, simply facts, numbers and opinions laid out for people’s entertainment. Let’s get underway.

Milano Seamen – 2-10 in 2023

Photo: CUBO Photo


To get the uncomfortable and obvious out of the way, the team needs to rebrand. For marketing, exposure, and logistical reasons the name has to change, not to mention the city of Milan isn’t located on the sea so it makes zero sense from the outside perspective. The origin of the name isn’t widely available and is perhaps one of the things that is understood within the organization. However, the team has been present from 1981-1990 and 2009 to the current day, this means it could be time for a change-up in branding. The Anchors, Sailors, Cathedrals or Artists would all reference the rich culture of Italy and Milano without every English speaker having a double take. Given the fact that American audiences make up a large amount of ELF viewership, this is atop of the “Things to do” to secure sponsorship, merchandise revenue and international reputation.

Finding a head coach

The second urgent issue is to find a new head coach. Stefan Prokorny resigned at the end of this season and Dan Dodd is the clear favorite to take the step up into that role. Experience in Arkansas State, Tulane, New Mexico and TCU at the college level and a relatively successful debut season in the ELF lines him up well for the position. Juan Flores-Calderon and Ali Khalife were young additions who were able to produce this season with ROTY and OROTY respectively. Luke Zahradka had a mixed debut season but was one of the more productive signal callers in the league with a ratio of 25/14 but found himself throwing a lot more deep bombs and putting his accuracy around the bottom of the starting QBs. The offensive line was anchored by three import players, Lewis Thomas, Harry Sayer, and Thomas Fileccia who all had solid seasons. Lewis Thomas was the clear standout as he was awarded a second-team all-star selection and was one of the reasons why the backfield was able to combine for 1,101 yards. Overall, Dodd should step into the Head Coach and the board needs to hire an offensive and defensive coordinator.

Coaching changes

This segways into the next point. Milan had Dodd running the offense and Prokorny as the head coach and defensive coordinator. Let’s elevate Dodd, find an OC that matches his philosophy and get a DC to replace Prokorny. This way, there is more experience in making decisions, more viewpoints, and less weight on the coaches at the top. The offense was middle of the pack in 2023 and the defense was far in a way the worst in the league for points conceded, touchdowns allowed in both rushing and passing, total yards (which includes both rush and pass) and 3rd down stop percentage. Moreover, on four separate occasions, a receiver had 150 receiving yards on their defense, more than any team, and in eight games a rusher had 100 yards or more on the ground.

Improving the offense

Versatile Devan Burrell #16 Photo @sergio_bisi

Continuing from this, let’s see how we could improve it on a personal level. The zero European imports on defense was a big mistake and the distribution was overwhelming on the offense. In this hypothetical, Alessandro Vergani (Stuttgart Surge), Robert Macaj (Cologne Centurions) and Jordan Bouah (Vienna Vikings) are all massive targets to sure up the offense as well as weakening other ELF teams. Alberto Adduci, Amedeo Vascelli, Michele Bianchi, Pasquale Giacometti and Enrico Di Franco all performed in the Italian Football League for Florence and Parma respectively and should all be signed immediately or trialed at the very least. Seamen OL Thomas Fileccia is extremely likely to be a Paris target given his French citizenship so in this we would possibly lose him to a rival. It would also be tough to continue running a carousel of backs when a European spot is being used and Ali Khalife is bound to be targeted by multiple teams in Germany stemming from his success this season. Braunschweig New Yorker Lions RB D’wanye Obi has more than proved himself to be a reliable three-down back in the GFL, thus his inclusion on this team. We, unfortunately, don’t know if Jean Constant is going to be back any time soon, but for this, he should be included in this rebuild due to his dynamic skill set and high-level performances. That would complete the offense, a restacked offensive line that could free up an E spot, more weapons on offense that differ from deep threats and more Italian core players to build around.

Improving the defense

Defensively, there was some rotation among the American players. SS Dejvion Steward, CB Devan Burrell, and CB Marquise Manning all have had their time in a Milano uniform, but none were able to play consistently, which brings us to a difficult decision. Burrell surely is having discussions with XFL teams for his return ability and Manning had injuries throughout the season, as did Steward. For these reasons, Dejion Lynch from Firenze Guelfi and Brian Peevy, formerly of the Danube Dragons and UWE, would be on the shortlists.

Looking at players in the ELF who could be of interest there are a few names. Ken Hike Jr. (Helvetic Guards) and Dajon Owens (Cologne Centurions) are two criminally underrated DBs on losing teams who could be targeted by other teams. In the box, Wroclaw Panthers LB Timi Nuikka would be a great fit for the inside and a player who I have been very vocal in his All-Star abilities. With that European spot taken and more American options, let’s expand the shortlist for alternative Americans, Italian standouts, and support for the struggling defensive line. Andrea Poglietelli had a breakout season in the IFL, leading in sacks for Firenze Guelfi with 7 on the season. He is undersized for the position, but it will add depth, youth, and energy to the defense.

Continuing with the leading players in the Italian Football League, Andrea Fantin led the league with 7 interceptions. He joined Milano in week 4 but took a few weeks to find his footing so giving him a full season could improve his productivity. Alex Ferrari is an automatic signing, a product of Guelfi who spent some time with the Raiders Tirol towards the end of the season. Stuttgart Surge’s Giuseppe Della Vechia adds a box safety option to diversify the defensive scheme and Firenze Guelfi’s Lorenzo Dalle Piagge is an experienced defensive lineman who is another lock for retooling the defense. Parma Panthers LB Alexis Ramos and Ancona Dolphins LB Vincent Winey naturally would be put into the shortlist if we chose to solidify the box with an American spot within the country. Alternatively, British DL Simeon Okonta-Wariso would be an athletic European with little wear from the season, or Cologne Centurions LB Zachary Blair would provide a guaranteed improvement in tackling as well as a special team impact.

The interior defensive line still needs a boost, but the Italian league has lacked a dominant true inside 3-tec. Therefore, it’s of interest to look at more Europeans now that the offense has more Italian pieces. Hamburg Sea Devils DT Evans Yeboah and Helvetic Guards DT Tim Hänni are obvious choices. Given the missed playoffs, Hänni could be a potential hit. That concludes our defensive options, of course, it was a massive overhaul but given the numbers from last season, it is completely necessary.

Special teams’ upgrades

With the hypothetical signing of more defensive pieces, the special teams will be vastly improved, the kicking last season was good from PATs but struggled from FGs. Try out the top kickers from the IFL, which would be the kickers from the Lazio Ducks and Parma Panthers and see if there is any improvement. As for returners, hopefully, Jean Constant will return to the team, as a second option Peevy has a history as a kick returner if he were to sign.

Key moves


  • Vergani or Adducci as the primary OL targets
  • Selection of Parma OL targets
  • Restacked WR with Bouah as the primary target
  • Obi comes in as a featured RB.
  • Multiple European Spots freed up for the defense.


  • Italian League leaders and experienced Italian players brought in
  • European spots on the LB and DL positions
  • American DBs or LBs as possible options
  • Individual defensive coordinator

There we go! This was a long read but important. This may be one man’s take on the Seamen but it hopefully will trigger some discussion. If you have any thoughts or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Until next time.