The newly formed Cologne Centurions of the European League of Football, ELF, have signed Kirk Heidelberg as their new head coach.
The 63 year old native of Toledo, Ohio is a true veteran and pioneer of football in Europe and to the back-and-forth travel associated with being an “international” coach.
He is returning to the home of his first-ever European championship football team, Cologne, where in 2000, he led the Cologne Crocodiles to their only German Football League championship. And his first title as a head coach.
“There’s no question, Cologne has a special place in my heart. Not only did I win my first ever title as a head football coach here, but I met my wife here too.”
He followed up his title with another one in 2003, this time with the Hamburg Blue Devils, a team he had coached prior to joining the Crocodiles in 1998.
Since then he has crisscrossed the Atlantic, alternating between the GFL and high school football in Ohio (Waite High School) and Illinois ( Rockford Christian High School) as well as Team USA’s Under 19 team with stops in Saarbrücken (Saarland Hurricanes), Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf Panther), Cologne again (Crocodiles), and Hamburg (Hamburg Huskies). He has been a guest coach for the Toronto Argonauts (2012) and spent some time in Sweden in 2015 helping the Carlstad Crusaders win the Swedish and European titles that year.
Before arriving in Europe, he had built an impressive coaching resume, having served as an assistant coach at Tennessee State University , Lehigh University and the University of Kansas.
There’s no question, that there is something about Germany, apart from his wife of course, that keeps him coming back.
“I really enjoy coaching and living in Germany, especially in this area. There are many things that remind me of where I grew up in Ohio. And the quality of football is very good. I am excited to be a part of the new league and being able to be a head coach in Cologne is extra special.”
Needless to say, Heidelberg is grateful for the opportunity:
“I want to thank Patrick Esume for his vision and this opportunity. And I’m looking forward to working with GM David Drane. I had the privilege of coaching both of these gentlemen.”