LIVE STREAM: Western New England Golden Bears Facing Spain’s L’Hospitalet Pioners in Barcelona

A Game Three Years In the Making

On the surface, three years of hard work hardly seems to be a fair trade for three hours of tangible results, but luckily for players on the Western New England University (WNE) football team, head coach Keith Emery knows that football provides a multitude of intangible experiences, on and off the field, which participants carry with them long after the final whistle and well after they have taken their helmet off for the final time.

WNE - Head coach Keith Emery

Keith Emery

The Golden Bears’ game on this Saturday March 21, kickoff 5 PM (12 noon EDT)(see below for live stream link) against Barcelona’s L’Hospitalet Pioners, of the Federeracion Espana de Futbol Americano (FEFA), stands to be no exception to that philosophy.

The tours of Madrid and Barcelona the week before the game and the culture experience are just a few of the things that will hopefully lead to a successful outcome, which according to Coach Emery is really just enjoying the entire experience.”

Coach Emery has been at the helm of the Golden Bears’ football team since the 2005 season, and Saturday’s game against the Pioners will represent the third time that a WNE football team has traveled outside the United States to play a game. In 2009 they headed north to face the Quebec Rebelles, and it was after the 2012 trip to Italy, where they faced the National Blue Team, that Coach Emery and other members of WNE leadership reached out to Dream Team Sports Tours.

As you might imagine, this game took plenty of planning, on the logistical and administrative side of things. One such potential issue was the limited availability of on-campus student housing if the team were to train during spring break. Since the season in Europe runs during the spring, it was necessary to find a team willing to play during the middle of their regular season.

WNE-Pioners action2

Despite what the Pioners’ current record might suggest, the Golden Bears’ couldn’t have signed with an opponent that is a better fit on and off the field, in just about every measure. The fact that 50% of all proceeds are being donated to Barcelona’s Hospital San Juan de Dios, to help fund their research in the fight against childhood cancer, parallels much of the philanthropic endeavors that the Golden Bears’ program have been involved with through the organization Lauren’s First & Goal. As

Coach Emery said, “the (Childhood Cancer) fundraiser is an added bonus, community service is a big part our program back home.”

WNE - team shot

On the field, we see many similarities, as well. Since 2005, when Coach Emery took the reins at WNE, the Pioners have been in FEFA’s Series A Championship Game 7 of 10, winning it 6 time. Meanwhile, back in Springfield, Massachusetts, Coach Emery has had winning seasons in 5 of his 9 seasons, garnered the best winning percentage since WNE joined the NCAA, and has set and twice broken his own record for the most wins by a WNE team in a single season.

Coach Emery explained how he keeps the players’ motivation up for this game, despite all the excitement of playing internationally.

It won’t be hard, our guys just love to play football,” he said, and then went on to say, “having the opportunity to just go play our game against someone else, help spread the game of football, show our brand of football while helping the community is all the motivation we need.”

This game stands to be one that all players, coaches, administrators, and fans will be proud to be a part of and will not soon forget. These are the moments that allow the game of American Football, and those involved in it, to shine. It is with the utmost respect that we tell all involved, buena suerte y el juego con la passion.

Click here to watch the live stream. (Kick off Saturday March 21, 5 PM local Spanish time, 12 Noon EDT)

Gavin coached in all levels of NCAA, before coming to Europe in 2013. Gavin is the founder of 3D Football and is currently the Special Teams Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator for the Silesia Rebels in Poland's PFL1.