Hungarian Champions Miskolc Steelers Getting Set To Defend Title

The Hungarian Football League is gearing up to kick off the 2017 season on March 25th. We will preview the six teams beginning with the defending champions, the Miskolc Steelers

The reinforced Steelers have signed a number of Ukrainian players and replaced former championship winning head coach Zsolt Száraz.

Every year, teams  all want to knock off the reigning champion. This season the Miskolc Steelers will try to defend their title.

Since the birth of the HFL in 2012, no team has repeated as champion. The Sons’ of the Hungarian Steel City want to be the first to do so. It would be a historical deed because Miskolc could be the first city from the countryside to defend its title before a team from Budapest. The Steelers needed serious reinforcements. The club kept Troy Rice, A.J. Benson and Daniel Menczel from last year. The man with the colossal muscles, Daniel Stadler also joined the club. In addition, 5 well-known and experienced Ukrainian players were also added to the team. They played for several years with the Nyíregyháza Tigers.

Peter Aggod, the offensive coordinator of the Steelers thinks the team has a great chance to defend its title but it will be even more difficult to win this season.

Photos: András Pazár, Norbert Radó

Do the Steelers have chance to defend the title?
Absolutely! Since no team has ever done that it will be more challenging. Every season is different since no one knows the strength of other teams. However, this time I can declare that on the basis what I know, Eger and Győr brought in some very promising players.

It shocked a lot of people when head coach Zsolt Száraz resigned last autumn. Was it difficult for you to reorganize the team?
His resignation came in the middle of the U19 championship. So it was the worst timing. Nonetheless, we wrapped up a new coaching staff from our senior team who led the youngsters into the finals. Unfortunately, we could not win the gold, but we were very proud of the guys. We trained a lot of talented player who will compete with the senior team this spring.

Who replaced him?
Meechie Eaton runs the practices right now. He has a lot of experience. He played five years in the first division of NCAA, participated in the Chicago Bears’ training camp and in the last 10 years he played in several countries. After the junior season we started physical and agility training. We have been preparing since December. To sum up, the our practices have become more efficient.

Last year the Steelers had a very strong roster. Who joined the club this year?
In my opinion, we brought players who will make this team stronger than before. The core is made up of our youngsters. They are reinforced by some foreign players. We have kept our dynamic duo of Troy Rice and A.J. Benson in the wide receiver position. We strengthened our defense with some Ukrainian linebackers. In addition, we may keep Daniel Menczel, but we brought a new defense lineman, Daniel Stadler as well.

In your opinion, can this season be as strong as the last one?
Of course! I expect a lot of difficult games. The first team that puts together the players the quickest, wins the championship. Besides this, the quality and the quantity of import players will be substantial. Last season we won all our games in the last few minutes, I do not think this will happen in 2017. Every team has the chance to make the playoffs.

Regular season of Miskolc Steelers:

March 26.: Budapest Cowbells (Felsőzsolca)
April 23.: DAK Acél Dunaújváros Gorillaz (Dunaújváros)
May 7.: Budapest Wolves (Budapest)
May 20.: Győr Sharks (Felsőzsolca)
June 3.: Eger Heroes (Eger)

Miskolc Steelers Established in: 2006

Home Field: Felsőzsolca City Field
Coaching staff: Varga Zoltán, Meechie Eaton
New Players: Troy Rice, A.J. Benson, Menczel Dániel, Stadler Dániel, Max Nedzelsky, Yury Nahornyak, Vitaly Melnyk, Lesiw Pavlo, Sergej Budilov
Championships: HFL champion (2016), Cellect arena Cup champion (2016), MAFL Divísion II champion (2009), Division I. runner-up (2016), U19 championship runner-up,

Additions: A.J. Benson and Daniel Menczel from last year. Daniel Stadler also joined the club. In addition. Five well-known and experienced players were also added to the team. They played several years with the Nyíregyháza Tigers.

László Makranczi is a radio reporter, announcer and American Football journalist in Hungary. He lives in Debrecen and works for the Hungarian American Football Federation. Studied at the University of Debrecen, got a master’s degree in American