Kirk Heidelberg joins Dutch Lions National Team staff

The Dutch Lions, the national team of the Netherlands, have signed veteran coach Kirk Heidelberg to be the team’s offensive coordinator.

Heidelberg joins head coach Fred Armstrong as the Netherlands looks to build up their national team with an experienced coaching staff.

Heidelberg is thrilled to be back in Europe coaching at the national team level and teaming up with longtime friend Fred Armstrong.

“I am excited about working with Coach Fred. We’ve known each other for many years, we came to Europe in the mid 90’s together. He was at Lehigh University after I was there coaching so we have a connection. We are 1-1 vs each other from the ELF 2021, so we remind each other we’re tied, and no one has the upper hand. Working with good people who know how to communicate and build relationships with their coaches and players was important to me. Also, Fred knows how to have fun on the job, that’s important for the players and coaches we play football we don’t work football.”

The 65-year-old native of Toledo, Ohio is a true veteran and pioneer of football in Europe and the back-and-forth travel associated with being an “international” coach. Last season, Heidelberg led the Cologne Centurions to the European League of Football postseason with a 5-5 regular-season record. Heidelberg’s return to Cologne came 21 years after he had led the Cologne Crocodiles to their only German Football League championship in 2000.

His first international coaching experience came in Hamburg where he coached back in 1998. Heidelberg guided the Hamburg Blue Devils to the German Bowl title in his second stint with the team in 2003. Now he looks to help develop Dutch players just as he did in Germany for many years.

“I am about developing players, helping players get better with their game and teaching the game correctly to my players. Development and Relationships are important in building trust for your players showing a genuine interest in getting them better with each practice.”

Since 2003, the football lifer has crisscrossed the Atlantic, alternating between the GFL and high school football in Ohio (Waite High School) and Illinois (Rockford Christian High School) as well as Team USA’s Under 19 team with stops with the Saarland Hurricanes, Düsseldorf Panther, Cologne Crocodiles, and Hamburg Huskies.

He has also been a guest coach for the Toronto Argonauts (2012) and spent some time in Sweden in 2015 helping the Carlstad Crusaders win the Swedish and European titles that year.

Before arriving in Europe, he had built an impressive coaching resume, having served as an assistant coach at Tennessee State University, Lehigh University, and the University of Kansas.

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and