Italian champions, the Milano Seamen sign safety Pierre Courageux

The Milano Seamen, winners of their third consecutive Italian title and fifth in six years, have signed one of the top safeties in Europe, Pierre Courageux from France.

The 6’1″, 210 lb, 28 year-old Courageux , a native of Vannes, France and member of the French national team, spent the 2019 season with the Turkish champion Koc Rams, helping them win their fifth straight Turkish title. He then signed with the Copenhagen Towers in Denmark reaching the Danish final. The year before playing with one of the elite teams in Europe, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, Courageux had a banner season recording 87 tackles and six interceptions in 19 games as starting free/strong safety. He helped the Lions to the German semifinals that year.

In 2017, he contributed to the Helsinki Roosters winning the Finnish and Northern European Football League titles with 79 tackles and nine interceptions. He spent the 2016 season with the Seinäjoki Crocodiles, also in Finland’s Maple League, helping them reach the Maple Bowl, Finland’s championship game. He launched his elite career with the Thonon Black Panthers in 2014, helping Thonon win the French title that year.

His career also took him to Canada where he studied at McGill University.

AFI: You have signed with one of the top organizations in Europe. Why the move to Italy?

Courageux: I had the dream to play in Italy for years but as the import rules are stricter than other European countries, this dream of mine was put aside until the Seamen reached out to me earlier this autumn. It then became natural for me to accept the offer and join the team for the 2020 season. Italy is a wonderful place to live, with history and culture. The city of Milan is fabulous and the program beyond the men’s team is the best place to learn and play in Italy.

AFI: This will be your seventh team and sixth country since 2014. How much has the game changed over the years?

Courageux: From my personal standpoint, I’ve learned so much by playing football across Europe. I grew as a man and as a football player. It forces me to adjust from place to place, team to team, from one culture to another. I am truly blessed about all that happened.

I believe the game has grown as well. It has become nowadays with the NFL, CFL and college programs are looking for talent across the Atlantic. There are opportunities everywhere for young hungry players. It definitely has become more visible as well, and finally united. The German federation is the only one not included right now.

AFI: How much of a difference is there in football from one country to another?

Courageux: It can be a huge gap, regarding the level and the structure. Let’s take the GFL which is the best league in Europe, that you can consider as semi-pro. It is really well structured, with talented players and coaches, with a lot of private investors, sometimes even naming for few teams. Then there’s Turkey where the football is still growing slowly, dealing with crazy small budgets, with the top league schedule dropping only 3 weeks before the first game. It can also be applied to France who’s trying hard to put football in the media, and Finland who’s broadcasting every Maple League game on TV.

I think the game is getting better overall every year but it’s a slow process and I’m preaching for more help and cooperation between European countries to make football better.

AFI: Are there any foods or meals you have grown fond of in these different countries?

Courageux: Food and I is a love story aha. I love eating, maybe too much. I can go for a go to meal in each country for sure. As I am from Brittany, I’ll go with crepes and galettes (salty crepes) for my French meal. Finnish food would be Karelianpiirakka, reindeer sausage and beer, all of it in a sauna. For German food, schnitzel and weisbeer. I didn’t have the chance to try any typical Danish food, but they eat quite a lot of fish and seafood so I’d say salmon. Finally Turkish food, probably my favorite, it’s not easy to pick one. They’re really good with everything. Some seafood for starters then etli ekmek (sort of pizza), tirit (lamb meat), wet burgers, kebab, hundreds of Turkish sweets from Sutis with a black tea. I’ve honestly had some of the best meals of my life in Turkey. I’m looking forward to Italian pizza, pasta and risotto.

AFI: You are joining a Seamen’s team that looks poised to win another title. How much do you know about them?

Courageux: I’ve learned my lesson from the Towers. [Towers were upset in Danish final] Season is never won in advance. Seamen have the best football program in Italy, they are successful in youth teams, women and men’s teams. They have a winning culture, and they know for sure how to work hard to get what they want. I’m confident we will do the right things with consistency to meet our goals at the end of the season.

AFI: What do you bring to Milano?

Courageux: My passion, work ethic and enthusiasm.  I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team get better week after week.

AFI: What are your expectations for 2020?

Courageux: I’m thrilled to join the Seamen, thanks to Marco Mutti and everybody involved that made this happened. I want to keep learning, I want to get better as a player and as a man, and obviously we want to win! #anchorgang

Anything else you would like to add?

Courageux: Thanks to the entire crew at AFI for doing such an amazing job!

Check out highlights from 2018

AFI
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