Holland’s Amsterdam Crusaders set 2018 international-only schedule

The Amsterdam Crusaders have finally released their 2018 schedule and this was no easy task.

The minefield called the IFAF situation which still remains unresolved, left the Dutch champions with a political maze to navigate. Many of the teams that would have been ideal opponents belonged to countries that supported the IFAF New York faction. The Dutch federation are backers of IFAF Paris.

Nevertheless, they have finally put out an eight-game schedule.

When the Crusaders made the highly unorthodox decision late last year to opt out of the Dutch American Football league and instead play only against international competition.they were met with scepticism and resistance, initially, from their own federation and many others in the Netherlands.

After settling with the AFBN, the Dutch federation, the Crusaders then set about forming their own schedule consisting only of non-Dutch teams. The task was not an easy one but they have managed to put together an eight-game schedule with more possibly coming.

After initial arrangements,  a game against Italy’s Guelfi Firenze was cancelled at the “last minute” leaving the season start for Amsterdam on March 25 when they head to Dusseldorf to play Germany’s Dusseldorf Panther (GFL2). Then they will welcome the Cologne Crocodiles from the German Football League to their new football facility on March 31.

The month of April will see the Crusaders take on their toughest competition as they face both the Frankfurt Universe (German semifinalists) and four-time German champions and 2017 German finalists, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in Big4 competition. They have tentatively scheduled Christopher Newport University, a NCAA Div. III school, but are awaiting final confirmation.

The Big4 final is set for June 9 but whether the Crusaders will play in that remains to be seen.

Next up in June is a trip to Finland to face Finland’s 2017 championship finalists, the Wasa Royals. A week later Amsterdam hits the road again, heading to Graz, Austria to play the  Graz Giants, 2017 Austrian semifinalists, The final game on the schedule is a home game against back-to-back Polish champions, the Wroclaw Panthers.

This is not the final schedule though. As the team admits, this is a schedule in flux. More games will no doubt be added as the Crusaders continue talking to clubs throughout Europe.

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.