Germany’s New Yorker Lions Snag Sweden’s Top Lineman

The top team in Europe, Germany’s Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, has signed offensive lineman Niklas Johansson from Sweden for the 2017 season.

The 25 year old, 6’3″, 290 lb  Johansson has played right tackle for Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders for the past four years helping them win Swedish championships all four seasons. This past season, Carlstad went undefeated and Johansson was named Lineman of the Year in Sweden. He also served as the team’s kicker in 2014 earning Kicker of the Year honors after hitting 96.8% of his kicks and scoring 92 points.

American Football International caught up with Niklas and asked him about the move from Sweden’s championship team to the European title holders.

American Football International: How did you end up signing with the top team in Europe, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions?

Niklas Johansson: I was supposed to play there right after the Swedish season ended [in July this year] but I couldn’t due to the transfer deadline. Then I went down to Braunschweig for a visit to see how they worked as a team and organization and it was a great. We got in contact again this fall and after some talking I decided to sign for the Lions for the upcoming season.


Photo credit: Tommy Andersson

AFI: You have won several championships in a row with Carlstad. Why the move?

Johansson: The years I’ve had with the Crusaders has been great. It’s a really good team with a great organization that is top in Europe. The move to the Lions is that I want some new challenges. Compete in one of the best leagues in Europe and in the Big6. It’s also a chance for me to try and live in another country and enjoy what Germany has to offer.

AFI: What are you aspirations in football?

Johansson:  I want to be the best player I can for my team. To make the best out of every play to be able to win.

AFI: Where did you start playing football?

Johansson: I started to play football in my hometown, a small town called Karlskoga which plays in the Swedish second division.

AFI:  Were you surprised that the Lions signed you?

Johansson: Yes I have to admit I did get a little surprised.

Last of all I want to thank Carlstad Crusaders, the players and coaches, for these past 5 years. It’s been a pleasure, good luck in 2017.

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Photo credits: Tommy Andersson, Hans Cullberg

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.