Fourth time’s the charm for country music singing QB Clark Hazlett playing for the Vysočina Gladiators in the Czech Republic

After an undefeated 2020 season, the Vysočina Gladiators, with a new quarterback behind center, are back in action in the Czech League of American Football and have rolled out to a 2-0 record.

After the success the team achieved last season with Joey Bradley at quarterback, team president Martin Kuhla and the Gladiators opted for another globetrotting passer this season. Enter world traveling, YouTube vlogging, country music singing, and most importantly, dual-threat quarterback Clark Hazlett.

And, as evidenced by the unbeaten record so far, Hazlett has fit in nicely.

“I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Gladiator’s organization and we are off to a great start to this season.”

This is not Hazlett’s first stint in Europe. Before arriving in this central European country, the former Linfield University (NCAA D3) quarterback suited up for the Pionniers De Touraine in France’s second division. Hazlett jumped at the chance to be the Pionniers’ starting quarterback after years of holding a clipboard as a backup in college. A few months later, the former all-state high school quarterback was finally back under center leading the Pionniers on the fields of northern France.

“I had very little film from college as I served most of my career as a backup quarterback at Linfield. (Coach) Abed was willing to take a risk on me after taking a look at my YouTube videos as I documented my college football career and he essentially got to know who I was as a player through those videos. I remember selling him on the opportunity to use my YouTube to help grow the brand for the Pionniers organization and he offered me a contract to play. “

 

Hazlett quickly adjusted to the European game finding receivers downfield and using his legs to be one of the division’s top quarterbacks. The Pionniers looked like title contenders going unbeaten in five games beore the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season abruptly. The five games were enough to reinvigorate Hazlett’s love for the game and left him wanting to prove himself in the international American football scene.

“I had a great time in France both on and off the field. It was really cool to see how big the sport of American football is in France, and I really appreciated my teammates for making me feel at home.”

In search of leagues still in action, he joined the Timbó Rex Sports Academy, one of the premier teams in Brazil. For months, Hazlett trained with teammates preparing for the Brazilian season, waiting for it to start. Unfortunately, as we all know, the pandemic eventually forced the cancellation of the Brazilian season as well. Although he was denied the chance to play, Hazlett was deeply impressed with Brazil’s rich American football scene.

“ I got the chance to travel around Brazil and train for three months before. Just like France, the sport of American football in Brazil has a big following and I was very impressed with the level of talent in Brazil.”

After the disappointment of a second cancellation, the multitalented quarterback moved to Nashville, Tennessee pivoting to pursue his YouTube-fuelled country music career in country music’s mecca. However, after working on a few songs, Hazlett was lured back to the gridiron after being invited to training camp by the Cancun Tiburones, an expansion team in one of Mexico’s professional American football leagues. Once again, Hazlett spent months preparing for a football season.

Once again, the pandemic forced a change in plans as the Mexican league also canceled its 2021 season, leaving the quarterback without a team for the third time in a little more than a year.

Vysočina Gladiators QB Clark Hazlett Photo: Lukas Kenji Vrabel

Hazlett chooses to see the sunny side focusing on the positives of living in Mexico.

“Life was great. If I wasn’t training, I was at the beach or playing guitar downtown at local restaurants.”

Although he was enjoying life in Mexico, Hazlett still had a burning desire to play and it didn’t take him long to connect with the Czech powerhouse Vysočina Gladiators joining them in early June. After a hectic year of scouring the globe for football, joining four different teams in the last 18 months, Hazlett finally got the chance to put on the pads for the Gladiators.

“This team last year had an 8-0 record heading into the semi-finals before the season was canceled due to covid. There are high expectations, and this team definitely has what it take to win the Czech Bowl this year.”

While the Czech Republic may lack the beaches and sunny siestas that Cancun offers, the Gladiators have given the multitalented quarterback a chance to return to the game he loves.

So far, the Gladiators and Hazlett have hit the right notes starting the season 2-0 and looking like true contenders for the Czech Bowl.

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