The French Federation of American Football (FFFA – Fédération Française de Football Américain) kicks off the 2019 season with a new 12 team format in two conferences, North and South.
Joining the top teams in France will be four newcomers: the Amiens Spartiates, Evry Corsaires, Montpeiller Hurricanes and Grenoble Centaures.
The remaining eight teams, include the defending and back-to-back champions, the Flash La Courneuve whowill also face challenges from arch rivals the Thonon Black Panthers, the 2015 and 2016 champions, the St. Ouen Cougars, 2018 semifinalists, the Asnieres Molosses, the Rouen Leopards, Marseille Blue Stars, Aix-en-Provence Argonautes, Villerbanne Falcons.
The two conferences will not play any inter-conference games before the playoffs.
The wild card round will pit the #2 North vs #3 South and the #2 South vs #3 North.
In the semifinals, the #1 North will play one of the wild card winners while the #1 South will take on the other wild card winning team.
The French championship will be played on June 29 at 18,000 seat Lille Stadium.
Flash La Courneuve : Aiming for a three peat ?
The Flash team is a perennial favorite in France. The historically successful club is looking to highlight one the best football academies of the country. They will have a tough challenge this year. After two straight titles and several European champions on the roster head coach Nicholas Simoneau has to face several key player departures. The most important could be the loss of all star quarterback Paul Durand who retired and is now the offensive coordinator. But we believe the unlimited potential of the Flash players who have moved up from the youth team enable the Seine Saint Denis team to reach the playoffs again.
D’Asnieres Sur Seine Molosses: Who let the dogs out ?
Is 2019 the year of success for the Molosses. Long time president Joëlle Lafollie called for a zero imports policy to reach the final. The young French young QB, Camille Thouary, will lead the offense trying to connect with elite receivers and French national team and European Champion Marc Bony and Murphy Balame.ON defense, Amir Kilani will start the season in Asniere before going to Finland.
St Ouen l’Aumone Cougars: Looking for a playoff chance
Head coach Xavier Mas is back with his Cougars. To reach their goal the team will follow the same strategy, never change a winning system. To reinforce the roster, QB Austin Howard (Southern University) was signed but for some reasons was released couple of weeks after his arrival. In just a couple of days Luc Casey (West Virginia Wesleyan) was in Paris to lead the team. Nick Tomkins (Darthmouth Ivy League) with his massive 6’4″, 285 lb frame will become as a powerful force on the defensive line.
Amiens Spartiates: Looking to return to past glory.
The former triple champion is finally back in the top division after five long seasons in Div 2.
Head coach Jarvis MacGarah is back in France to lead the team. Another young French QB will have to grab the spotlight as Clement Schaeffer will now face the best defenses in Div 1 and will have to confirm his great potential. The blue and yellow team also has a zero imports approach and will rely on long-time leaders and defensive international players Paul David and Theo Servant.
Rouen Leopards: Hoping for a better season
Last year was a long, tough season of learning for the Leopard with only one win and a very limited offense (89 pts). The team now has hope for an improvement this year. The offense found another leader with the arrival of Caleb Bedford from Central Methodist University (Fayette, Missourri). The defense will have to stay strong behind DL Vincent Buffet before he transfers to the Finnish Maple League.
Evry Corsaires: Made in Evry
The Corsaire are also a newcomer in Div 1. The team is led by long time HC JR Bortulus who will rely on homegrown talents. This team has a very long history of tapping into its football academy to fill its elite team roster. They will also play with a zero imports policy. Instead, they have signed former German Football League receiver Anthony Couvin. The former French scoring leader will have to prove that his talents can still score TDs for the Corsaires.
Thonon les Bains Black Panthers: Set to roar again?
After two consecutive finals losses in 2017 and 2018, the team led by Fabien Ducousso wants to regain the title it held in 2013 and 2014. The team went to neighboring Switzerland and the Calanda Broncos to sign QB Clark Evans. This traditional running team could try to win in the air with great receivers like Jeff Alexandre and Ben Plu both Team France receivers. The black and white team has become one of the top defenses against the pass and will present an international backfield with Bryan Billy, Timon Debiez and Victor Ferrier. There is no doubt that anything other than reaching the final for the third straight year will be deemed a failure for this tradition-rich team.
Marseille reached the playoffs last year with a powerful defense but 3 DL starters left for Paris, Germany and Finland. Chase Burton (Franklin College, Indiana) will lead HC Bavuong’s offense. OC Cedric Cotar will bring a wining background from Canada’s powerful Laval University Rouge to many great local talents. Expected defensive leader should be Eddy Abdulah. It is now up to this bright prospect to lead the Blue Stars and also to prove that he belongs on the Team France roster.
Montpeiller Hurricanes : Rookies at this level
The team from Occitanie will be the only, true rookie at this level. Led by QB Hunter Hugues (Hawai University) the Hurricanes will rely entirely on European imports including an offensive line made in Eastern Europe. The team also brought in former national team star Loic Caruso (Centaures Grenoble).
Aix-en-Provence Argonautes: Looking for a past glory
The red-and-gold team have lost their southern dominance in recent years to their neighbors in Marseille. However, Jimmy Russel is back… as the OC working with new HC Richard Bonds. Look for new running back/returner/defensive back, Troy Rice (Youngstown State.) to have an impact.
Grenoble Centaures: Back in Div1 to make it happen
The second mountain-based team in the French league (with Thonon) is back in Div 1 as well. After last Div2 win vs Montpellier. With HC David Gould the team has a long time local talent development program but this year to make it happen they signed one of the best European RB in Andreas Betza from Franckfurt. He will not be alone from Germany as he is joined by Frankfurt teammate QB Sonny Weichaupt. In the southern conference with 3 berths up for grabs, the Centaures could well be challengers.
The team lost their offensive leader in Swedish RB Kapser Wedberg to Thonon les Bains. Unfortunately, the team so far has remained silent during the off season.