Milano Seamen championship QB Luke Zahradka returns for Italy’s 2018 season

The Milano Seamen have re-signed championship winning quarterback Luke Zahradka for the 2018 Italian season.  Zahradka led Milano to the Italian title in 2017 . He spent the 2016 season with the Prague Black Panthers in the Austrian Football League.

Zahradka, 25, (197 cm, 106 kg) hails from New York and attended Bentley University (NCAA Div. II). He has spent the past five seasons in Europe, first with the Kirchdorf Wildcats (Germany), and then a year in France with Amiens Spartiates.  In 2015, he led the Ancona Dolphins to a 9-0-1 regular season record.

 Zahradka was the third leading passer in Italy in 2017 throwing for 2,154 yards and 23 TDs. . His Seamen had the second leading offense in Italy with 347 points. In the championship win over the Milano Rhinos,  Zahradka was outstanding in completing 12 of 16 passes for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns while adding two more himself on the ground and was named Italian Bowl MVP. 

American Football International asked Luke about playing in Europe.

AFI: Tell us about your career in Europe before your title run last year with the Seamen

Zahradka: I started my career overseas shortly after graduating college in July of 2013 by signing with the Kirchdorf Wildcats, a team located in the Bavarian region of southern Germany. I’m thankful to them for giving me a chance to continue playing the sport I love.

For the 2014 season I played in France an hour north of Paris with the Amiens Spartiates. Our team had a really successful season going 9-0-1 winning the North before losing to the AIX en Provence Argonauts in the finals.

The following year (2015,) I played in Italy for the Ancona Dolphins. After finishing the season 8-2, I obtained my Italian citizenship which allowed me to be eligible to play with the Italian National Team. After the season finished I came back to coach the junior team and also got the chance to play in a friendly game for the national team as well as attend multiple camps for the team.

And two years ago, I was fortunate to have more success here in Europe. During the year I played with the Prague Black Panthers in one of Europe’s top league, the AFL. Our team faced a lot of adversity and things never seemed to go out way but our guys constantly. While playing here I was able to be a part of a championship team for the Czech League. After the season I went to Italy because we had Group B European championship in September for the Italian National Team. We won the tournament and now have the chance to make it into the A Group for 2018.


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