Guatemala’s David Giron Using His Life-Long Passion To Help Frankfurt Universe In Germany

To say Guatemalan David Giron has had a passion for American football his entire life would be an understatement. By any definition.

However, Giron, the leading receiver for the Frankfurt Universe in Germany’s top league, the GFL, did not have an easy time trying to feed that passion.

His burning desire to play football in his home country of Guatemala, where most people are not even aware of the sport, confounded his parents. As a young teen, the now 24 year old, 5’11”, 185 lb native of Guatemala City, Guatemala, pestered them relentlessly while devising his own physical training regime for football. He played soccer, the country’s national sport but thought it was boring. Finally, at the age of 16, he convinced them to help him find a home in the United States so he could play football.

His father found a Spanish-speaking family in Fort Worth, Texas and he landed at Nolan Catholic High School where he excelled on the football field.

“The Hernandez family took me in as one of their own. I played a season at Nolan Catholic High School and we won the State Championship. I didn’t have a lot of experience playing or too much knowledge of the game really, but I knew that I wanted to play football in college.

Wrote to 100 colleges

He then wrote letters to 100 schools. Western Carolina University, a D1 AA university in the mountains of North Carolina, gave him a tryout as a walk on. He was one of only three of the 70 hopefuls who made the squad.

The team put him at receiver. Although he was a gifted player, his lack of knowledge of the game became immediately apparent. He had learned coverages from Madden so the receivers coach spent a a great deal of time teaching him every morning.

By the spring of his sophomore year he was name MVP of spring camp. He was awarded a scholarship and together with his best friend on the team, Helva Matungulu from Kenya (now with the New York Jets), he grew optimistic about his college career. He had had the opportunity to play against some of the top teams in college football, such as Alabama, Virginia Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State and Appalachian State.

Germany - David Giron - WC University

David Giron in action for Western Carolina University

However, with his career seemingly taking off, his position coach was replaced in his senior year. He did not hit if off with the new coaching. Suddenly he found his playing time cut drastically.

Disappointed but undeterred he took on a new challenge in order to play football.

Headed to Europe

With both of his brothers living in Europe, one as a track star in Spain and the other playing professional soccer in Spain, it was only natural for David to head to Europe too. So armed with his new-found experience and a background in German from his father, he applied to school in Germany thinking he could get finish his final year at the University of Mannheim and get his degree, learn German and also continue playing football.

So he sought out the Rhein Neckar Bandits American football club in the area who signed him for the 2014 season. Although it was a dismal year for the club in Germany’s top division, Giron was their leading receiver with more than 1,400 yards receiving.

In 2015, after suffering an injury, he found himself in GFL 2 with the Universe. He struggled to regain his health and his production dropped off. But that passion and determination was never far away. He turned things around again in 2016 following the Universe as they advanced to Germany’s top league.

Germany - David Giron - Frankfurt Universe.4

Photo credit: C-sportpics

Giron is helping his team march to the German playoffs. He leads the German league in receptions per game with 13 and is fourth in overall yardage with 923 yards. He also leads Frankfurt in punt returns with 15 for 396 yards but he has also scored three touchdowns on returns as well. His 12 touchdowns also top the Universe.

Things are looking bright for Giron and the Universe.

Guatemalan roots never far away

Nevertheless, his roots and reputation in Guatemala are still strong. Marco Cobar, head of the Guatemalan Association of American Football, remembers Giron well:

“There were no teams for kids his age so he began playing with adults when he was 14. We only had the National Team called Los Tigres. He was so insistent that I let him play once on special teams against Nicaragua. I remember this as if it was yesterday. He fielded the initial kickoff and got hit very hard by a couple of Nicaraguans. He probably weighed about 110 pounds. I thought he was going to come out crying out of the pile….he just got up screaming and yelling out of pure excitement. He just loves the game.”

What he will do next is uncertain, but his passion remains.

“I am currently so excited about this new chapter in my life. I am living my dream, and am so overly grateful to all the people who have helped me make it possible, especially my parents and brothers who have encouraged me again and again.”

Roger Kelly
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.
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