Iceland’s Reykjavík Einherjar head to Spain to face Mallorca Voltors in 30th anniversary celebration

Iceland’s Reykjavík Einherjar American football team is flying from one island to another this Saturday, October 28 to play a football game, this one 2,000 miles away, in Mallorca, Spain where they will take on the Mallorca Voltors.

Finding games is not always easy for the only football team in Iceland. This island nation with a population of only 300,000, located 1,200 miles north of London, England is home to the Einherjar who spend most of the year practicing. They have to look far and wide – literally – to find opponents.

This has not deterred the Einherjar from continuing to cast a wide net. In the past 18 months the team has hosted teams from Norway, Germany and Great Britain, winning two games and losing the last one by a touchdown to the Ouse Valley Exiles.

This weekend the team finally has a road game as they fly almost 2,000 miles to Mallorca to face that island’s only American football team, the Mallorca Voltors, to help the Voltors celebrate their 30th anniversary.

Although also based on an island, the Voltors  don’t have to search far for opposition.  They played in Spain’s division 2 in 2017 but have been promoted to the top division in that country and in 2018 will have to face teams like the Badalona Dracs, winners of the past two Spanish titles.

Island similarities

The Voltors maybe located on an island, but they are only an hour by air from Barcelona so finding teams to play regularly is not an issue. Nevertheless, they are still isolated and, being in the Mediterranean, a huge tourist destination for Europeans, which makes it difficult for people to take the American football team seriously.

With Iceland’s notoriety growing, thanks in part to its national soccer team reaching the  2016 European Championship quarterfinals defeating Austria, the Netherlands and England before succumbing to the host French, it too has now become a tourist attraction of its own. And American football is not the first thing on the minds of the many tourists who come to explore the glaciers and volcanoes.

So the similarities are intriguing and both island teams seem determined to grow and develop the game.

While much younger, the Reykjavik Einherjar are working hard and have been practicing and honing their skills for years now, in a sort of cocoon but have gained international interest thanks in part to the tireless efforts of firebrand and quarterback  Bergbör Phillip Pálsson. Through his persistence, teams around the world, including the Minnesota Vikings, now know about the Einherjar.

Voltors celebrating 30th

The Voltors are far older but has faced similar obstacles. This year the club is celebrating its 30th anniversary, hence the visit from Reykjavík.

Voltors head coach, Juan Serrano :

“We wanted to celebrate our 30th anniversary and promotion to SERIE A in Spain with something special. Our team is made mostly of players from our club but by moving up we will be adding imports from other countries. This event will help promote this. We want to make this an annual event and invite teams from all over Europe to come and play us.”

For this first edition of the “Trofeo Ciudad de Palma”, in addition to the game with the  Einherjar, Mallorca’s juniors will play the Barcelona Pagesos U19  squad.

 

 

AFI
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