Germany: Düsseldorf Panther sign Canadian QB Christian Strong from Seton Hill

The Düsseldorf Panther, returning to the German Football League for the first time in three years, have signed Canadian-born quarterback Christian Strong from Seton Hill University (NCAA Div. II).

Panther head coach John Leijten (who is also head coach of Team Australia) had looked at every possible candidate he could find before deciding on Christian.

“I knew he had played in Brisbane,Australia. I had seen a few of his games on stream. He was also recommended to me by a few players. So we toke a look at his college film and found that he has great technique and a strong arm. In our interviews we also found out that he is very smart..”

Strong, a 6’4″, 214 lb Brampton, Ontario native, grew up in Florida and then spent four years at Seton Hill. In his final three seasons at Seton Hill, Strong completed 671 of 1,176 passes for 8,656 yards, throwing 56 touchdowns. In his senior season set all kinds of passing records finishing with 3,074 yards passing. One of the highlights of his career was being named the Division II HERO of the Week in his junior season for his performance against BR 89 Kutztown when he threw for 517 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-22 victory. In 2018, he played for the Brisbane Rhinos in Gridiron Queensland League in Australia. He was named league MVP after leading the Rhinos to the championship game. He threw for 2,830 yards and 46 touchdowns that season.

American Football International asked Christian about playing overseas.

AFI: Is this your first time playing football overseas?

Strong: No, this will be my second season playing football overseas. My first season overseas was this past July – December playing quarterback for the Brisbane Rhinos of the Gridiron Queensland League. Australia was the farthest I had been from home, it was a great experience of competitive football.

AFI: How did you find out about football in Europe?

Strong: I created a Europlayers profile page last year after I was not selected in the CFL draft or picked up as an undrafted free agent by the NFL / CFL. This awakened me to all the teams and leagues across Europe and the other nations. It really opened me up to more possible opportunities to continue playing football. I also have a few friends playing overseas so they were able to give me some advice too.

AFI: How did the Panthers and Coach Leijten find you?

Strong: I actually reached out to him through Facebook just after the new year; I was checking the GFL1 teams and which had not yet signed a Quarterback and Düsseldorf was still searching so I took my shot and hoped for the best. When Coach Leijten replied that he was interested and liked my tape, we conducted an interview and from there we were both sold I feel like. It’s honestly a great fit, I didn’t even know prior to talking to him that he was Australian, this made the transition easy knowing that he knew about the league I was playing in during my time in Brisbane.

AFI: How much did you know about football outside of North America?

Strong: I was honestly very skeptical at first hearing about all these different leagues in all these different countries across the world. I almost couldn’t believe it because I just imagined soccer, baseball, basketball or rugby being the predominant sports overseas. To see that there is a strong push to improve football overseas and make it a legitimate top sport is awesome to witness and something I definitely want to be apart of moving forward. Not many people believe me when I tell them where I am going to play and the first thing they will say is “Oh they have football there?” But little do they know that football is actually becoming bigger each year overseas and that there are really good athletes and coaches out there who put the same time and effort into the love of the game.

AFI: Did you get looks for NFL/CFL teams?

Strong: During my senior year at Seton Hill University (DII NCAA) I had 13 NFL teams come to interview and meet with me and sit in on practice. At my Pro Day last year at Cal U (Pa) on March 12th there were also a handful of NFL teams in attendance. As for the CFL, I was one of two Canadian born Quarterbacks to participate in the CFL National Combine out in Winnipeg, Manitoba from March 23rd-26th. During this three-day evaluation process I was fortunate enough to conduct media interviews with five of the nine CFL teams.

AFI: How much do you know about Germany?

Strong: For starters I have heard it is the top and most competitive football league in Europe. I also know that the CFL has now signed a partnership with them too. It seems like each year more and more athletes are getting a chance from the GFL to enter and compete at the pro level whether NFL or CFL. As for the German language I have a lot of learning to do. I also hear they eat a lot of schnitzel, bratwurst and sauerkraut lol.

AFI: What do you think you bring to the table?

Strong: I bring a competitive and resilient edge that motivates me each day to get better in all aspects of life. Whether on the field as a Quarterback or off as a Christian man in the world, I am always grinding and working hard to improve myself. I’ve faced so much adversity in my life from a young age and have managed to deal with each situation and turn it into a positive. I use my previous experiences to help inspire and lead others. I also believe I bring a great deal of knowledge and understanding of the game to Düsseldorf, and that my athletic abilities along with my dedication to always get better and hold others accountable to the same standards will be seen this season.

AFI: What are your expectations?

Strong: I always set the bar high, if you do not have goals that people are laughing or doubting then you didn’t aim high enough. I know we are new to GFL1 this year and that people will probably think this is a year to get our feet wet, but I feel that with the coaches and players we have that we can make a legitimate run for a championship. I have personal goals along with that, but definitely staying healthy, being a great leader, and most importantly having fun through all of this.

Check out highlights from Seton Hill

Highlights from Brisbane Rhinos

Interested in playing American football overseas?

Register on Europlayers.com.

Europlayers is the largest online database of American football players, teams and coaches.  It is a connector, bringing together and introducing athletes to overseas teams. On the site you can begin researching teams around the world.  Once you create a profile, you become searchable by hundreds of American football clubs around the world.

AFI
American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!
Skip to toolbar