Phil Gamble: From roots in Georgia to life in Germany

It’s fourth down with a minute left on the clock and the game is tied.

The Hildesheim Invaders knew they needed a score.  That’s when they called on veteran running back Phillip Gamble who took a toss to the right side, read the defense  and cut back and drove his legs just enough to find the endzone, the Invaders won by six points.

For the former Marshall University standout, this was another highlight in his career in Germany. But it definitely wasn’t his first game winning touchdown in this country. The Georgia native has been playing in this country since joining the Bielefeld Bulldogs in 2013. His career includes a GFL2 north championship with the Bulldogs along with playing for the Paderborn Dolphins before joining the Hildesheim Invaders in 2016.

He has won a lot of football games in his career, but what he has cherished the most are two things; being teammates with his brother Daryl Gamble, and, most importantly, positively affecting the lives of many young German players as Gamble has been involved as a youth coach ever since he arrived.

Gamble on playing with his brother NFL linebacker Daryl in Germany. 

I had the honor of playing two years with my younger brother Darryl Gamble, a former University of Georgia linebacker with two years of NFL experience.”

Photo: Marshall University Athletics

Before running through would-be tacklers in northern Germany,  and starring for Marshal University, Gamble was a blossoming high school prospect having to deal with racism at his own neighborhood school.

“Being in the Deep South during that time, we really didn’t see any racism until we changed our state flag. We had a protest outside of our school and there we saw our white friends were out protesting with their family. As a teen at the time you had to do what your parents told you to do for the most case. It was a very confusing time for our football team also. If you seen Remember the Titans that gives you an idea of how it was for some.”

Gamble helped his high school team make the playoffs his senior year, his standout moment was rushing for 250 yards against a Sandy Creek high team lead by future NFL superstar Calvin Johnson. The All State running back, then chose Marshall after poor SAT scores hurt his chances to sign with a traditional southern powerhouse program.

“I verbally committed with the Auburn Tigers after my visit, having Cadillac Williams as my host. I saw what the college life was really about, all I can say that I really enjoyed myself. Unfortunately I didn’t have a high enough SAT score to attend Auburn, so one week back on the market I got a visit from Booby Pruitt the HC at Marshall University in WV, where he brought a case full of rings that they had won in previous years.”

After arriving in Huntington, the Georgia native running back switched to the defensive side of the ball. He spent five years with the Marshall Herd, and finished his college career as a two-time captain, collecting 26 tackles, three tackles for loss, and a sack in his senior season. Following a solid collegiate career, Gamble was disappointed not to make the NFL but decided to keep doing what he loved playing semi pro for following three years.

“After not getting receiving any camp invites, I pretty much thought that was the end of my football career. Playing semi pro football basically brought back my passion for football and created new friendships.”

Phil Gamble leaping over a defender playing for the Bielefeld Bulldogs Photo: Mark Harris

Eventually Gamble found his way to Europe by way of an all-star game in Poland. The game was enough to impress Bielefeld Bulldogs head coach Dale Heffron. Little did Gamble know the game would change his life forever.

“In 2012 I was chosen play in the Euro-American Challenge in Warsaw, Poland and got in contact with the then coach Dale Heffron to come to Bielefeld the day after the game to finish out the season coaching because I didn’t get the player pass in time.”

The former all state running back has now embraced his new life in Germany and has begun some exciting project off the field as well.

“Germany is a great country, great people and something different compared to the USA. 2019 I became the owner of The English Speaking Area, an English tutoring center in Bielefeld, where we have children and adults lessons. To help children with their school English and adults with conversational speaking. I also in 2019 started another company which is Life School Projects, with different native English speakers from around the world that are based in Germany.”

Phil Gamble with his Life School Projects crew

Gamble has now embarked on a new challenge as the 35-year-old has joined a newly-founded local club, the Minden Wolves. The knowledgeable vet will be coaching and playing for the new team as they will be playing their first season this summer. He will also be coaching the Minden Wolves youth squad. Gamble is producing content for the Minden Wolves YouTube channel as they wait until it is safe to return to the field.

“I am currently playing and coaching and I am also head coach of the youth team. I also wanted to start something with a new team that has never had a game to this date. The Minden Wolves have made me feel like family within a year, I enjoy being around this group and I really believe success is soon to follow.”

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