Back in mid-November of 2014, players from all over Germany and the Netherlands gathered at tryouts to try to earn a spot on the roster of the German champion Braunschweig New Yorker Lions for the 2015 season.
In addition to the already introduced three Dutch internationals Tom van Duijn, Chris Smith and Francis Nouvi, four other new players will leap onto head coach Troy Tomlin’s 2015 Lions squad.
Two players from the Oldenburg Knights regional team, wide receiver/tight end Christoph Oetken and offensive lineman Florian Rückeshäuser, will help boost the Braunschwieg offense.
The 21-year-old Christoph Oetken began playing football in 2012 on the Knights youth team, initially as a wide receiver, but was switched to quarterback when the starter was hurt in the first game.
In 2013, at quarterback, he accounted for 16 touchdowns (10 passing, 6 rushing). At the end of the season he was the Oldenburg Knights Rookie of the Year. Last year, the 6’5″ and 215 lb quarterback/receiver was elected the team MVP.
The second player to join the Lions from the Knights is 26-year-old offensive lineman Florian Rückeshäuser. He has played American football since 2002, starting with the Mainz Golden Eagles youth team.
The 6’1″ and 280 lb player had been with the Oldenburg Knights since 2011, playing both offense (center, guard, fullback) and on the defensive line.
As one of the most experienced players on the Oldenburg squad, he was one of the reasons for the continued success of a Knights team,which has climbed the top of the region.
For both players, the primary objective of their first season in the GFL is too improve on their respective positions and to learn from the best.
The third man is Aike Meyer, 25. At 6’4″, 216 lb, the linebacker joins the Lions from the AFC Emden Tigers.
The last of the quartet of newcomers who were able to get through the tryout and earn a place on the Lions squad is Sebastian Blase.
The 6′, 210 lb wideout comes from the Magdeburg Virgin Guards and would have stayed there but his successful tryout in Braunschweig, will now have him playing in the GFL.
His goal for the 2015 season is to learn as much as possible from the coaches and players in Braunschweig and to help the New York Lions win another championship.