Globetrotting Gabriel Chambers Re-Signs With Serbian Champions

Defending national champions of Serbia’s Srpska Asocijacija Američkog Fudbala (SAAF) have re-signed a top import skilled athlete.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Gabriel Chambers (174 cm, 78 kg) will return to the Kragujevac Wild Boars and provide some speed and experience to the offensive and defensive backfield. In 2016 he scored eight touchdowns (six by receiving and two kick-off returns).

Chambers, who is currently finishing up his season with the Leme Empyreo Lizards of Brazil’s Liga Nacional (2nd division), has played wide receiver, defensive back, running back, and special teams returner for teams all over the globe. Chambers has played American football in Poland, Philippines, Serbia, and most recently in Brazil.

“We have decided to re-sign Gabriel because he is a great player with a lot of potential and also a great guy off the field,” said Kragujevac’s athletic director Mirko Ćirić. “I expect him to really step up this season since he will be already familiar with most of his teammates and also because he is coming off a season in Brasil in great shape. He will most definitely be one of our team leaders.”

American Football International had a chance to catch up with Chambers about the next chapter of his American football journey.

AFI: Hi Gabriel! Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to sign with the Wild Boars?

Gabriel Chambers: Well, it started after I came back to the States in late December after my season in the Philippines (playing American football for Manila Wolves from August-December). After my season with the Wolves, I gave a verbal agreement to Omaha Beef (arena football in the Champions Indoor League) when I was back at home in Orlando, Florida. I was working out and waiting to go to camp in Omaha, Nebraska, but then I had that feeling of getting back overseas and spreading my knowledge and love for the game.

Changing my game from outdoor to indoor was going to be different, so I got in contact with different teams overseas. Shane Wong was the guy who help me get to Wild Boars. I talked to him and we made it happen. Of course I heard good things about the Wild Boars and I was ready to go to a new country and win a championship and that’s exactly what happened.

Photo Credit: Ugljevarevic Photography

Photo Credit: Ugljevarevic Photography

AFI: Before a few years ago, did you know anything about American football in Serbia or Europe?

GC: Yes. I knew about American football overseas since high school, but throughout my college years at Jacksonville State University and Faulkner University I got more interested. I always told my friends back in the States that I will go overseas and play professional American football and they thought I was playing. Til this day they always tell me that I kept my word because I stayed on my dream.

AFI: What are you looking forward to about returning to Serbia?

GC: I am looking forward to competing and playing in the IFAF Europe Champions League this year. Also, since we won the title last year in the SAAF (Serbian Bowl XII), we will have a target on our backs. I’m looking forward to help repeating another title for Wild Boars, and hopefully we can bring the IFAF trophy back too.

I love everything about the city from the people, the great nightlife (I’m there for business and not for pleasure), culture, and much more.

I am just going to take it day by day to get better and get my teammates ready for the games. I am ready to be back around my brothers, but most of all I’m just blessed I get to play this game and to continue my football career. I am focusing on my goals here in Brazil with Leme Lizards right now, and that’s tô bring a Liga Nacional title back here.

AFI: What do you think you can bring to the Wild Boars in 2017?

GC: Well I haven’t really had an off-season here lately. After one season ends, I am back into another. It been a real grind, but I love the game, and  I’m training differently now. I am hoping 2017 will be an exciting season for me because I am looking to take it to a different level. I’m hoping I can bring my speed and my playmaker abilities as a wide receiver, defensive back, running back, and returner, or etc back from last year. But main thing for me is to give back and helping my team in putting them in the best position to win a game or a title.

AFI: Also, you’ve played in many different countries. What is your impression on the growth of American football outside of the U.S.?

GC: Yea, so far I have been blessed to play in Poland, Philippines, Serbia, and Brazil. The impression I have on it, outside of the U.S., is that they all have potential. My job as an import is to make sure the team can play the game to their full potential and believing in themselves to make plays. I will have to say with the rate it is going now American football will be a top sport overseas. Of course you will have football (soccer), but soon American football might slide up and become more popular than soccer in some countries or cities.

AFI: Thanks a lot Gabriel and good luck in Serbia in 2017!

GC: It was my pleasure. I love doing these types of things!

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John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.