European League of Football: Playing GM – Prague Lions

The Prague Lions had one of the most turbulent seasons of any team in the European League of Football last year, their first in the league.

The turmoil plagued the team not only on the field but behind the scenes as well. The rebuilds’ financial side is extremely relevant to the Prague franchise. I am not qualified in business or international business so that could continue to be a problem in the 2024 season. It’s well-documented that in 2023 the Lions had to be bailed out several times whether it was coaching issues, equipment issues, visa issues or player disagreements with the higher management. Today’s focus is simply to build the best roster available, giving us the best chance to compete for the championship and add more silverware to the illustrious history in the Czech Republic of the Prague Lions. This is going to be a long one, let’s get straight into it.

Prague Lions (1-11 in 2023)

 Coaching Staff

The coaching is off to a strong start with Dan Disch, although the stats don’t necessarily stack up for the 2023 Lions. The defense was rather good at the start of the season considering the inability of the offense to move the ball. Disch managed to use some of the more underrated Czech talents very well and does seem to have the support of the team, therefore, he is the correct signing for the position. The choice of the offensive and defensive coordinator should be highly influenced by the head coach. If Disch has people who know his methods, practices, and coaching philosophy then it cuts out the awkward starting stage of getting comfortable. Coaches need to be on the same wavelength instantly as they come into the building in an extremely difficult position. However, we can reap a lot of talent from the country and other national players that we didn’t see in Orange that season.

Youth Impact

A massive part of this rebuild will be an emphasis on building the youth infrastructure. There is not the same level of national talent in the Czech Republic that there is in other countries so to compete over the next 5-10-year period, there needs to be a heavy investment in the U19 talents. Some recent players have come through the Czech ranks, we will get to them later, but the talent pool is incomparable to their central European rivals. The fact that there are at least two competitive teams in Prague is an even bigger bonus to our cause.

Improving the Offense


We may not have an offensive coordinator, but that doesn’t mean we can’t load the offense with weapons to make the job as easy as possible. The clear issues of the 2023 offense are no secret. A total of four quarterbacks saw regular time in the season and only one of them was able to achieve a positive touchdown-to-turnover ratio (Shazzon Mumphrey 6-5). We cannot allow the inconsistency in 2024 if we want to not only survive but compete. For this reason, Jaylon Henderson is the ideal choice to bring in to be the leader of the offense. He, of course, led the Potsdam Royals to the German Football League Championship. To compete we will be building around the idea of championship-winning players to build the culture within the team. Henderson is accurate (73.9%), doesn’t turn the ball over (64-5 TD/TO Rate) and has shown himself to be an elite player in Europe. With Henderson locked in as the first American, we need to find him a reliable target at receiver for the next American position.

It’s certainly a reach, but Malik Stanley is a player who is in the category of best receiver in the league but doesn’t get the love of others in the league. He has been an All-Star and with Henderson, he could absolutely return to, and possibly eclipse, his 2022 numbers from the Wroclaw Panthers season. To be stingy with the European spots so we can save them for the offensive line, we are not going to spend one of the six on the receiver position. The reason for this is Radim Kalous, who was the only Czech player in the ELF who is not currently playing for the Lions. He accumulated 377 yards and a single touchdown for the Vienna Vikings; he would be a great player to pair with Stanley.

Vienna Vikings WR Radim Kalous Photo: Hannes Jirgal

Janota Josef and Lukáš Kadlec would be re-signed as two young Czechian homegrown players who showed flashes not only last season but the season before as well. From the Prague Black Panthers, we want to take Jakub Wolesky, who had 595 yards and eight scores in the Austrian Football League putting him as a top receiver in one of the more respected leagues. In addition to Wolesky, Kamil Roba also performed well last season for the Prague Black Panthers and has been a part of the Lions before, so he could be convinced if he knows we are building a contender. Lastly, for some more depth from the Czech League, Ondřej Mareček of the Brno Alligators could be another option I would like to see as a potential signing. He put up 859 yards and seven scores last season. That would be the makeup of our receiver core, Stanley, and Kalous with a collection of young, tough, options and experienced big-bodied outside guys.

Adam Žouželka

The running back position is an extremely tricky one, anyone who watched Adam Žouželka last season knows that he is a legit running back in the league who can produce dividends. The problem is the injury concerns. He only played in seven games and had 78 attempts, that’s less than some backups on certain teams. We need him to be healthy as he is the best Czech running back. Adrian Malucha is also a very talented young back but is currently located in the NFL Academy. The logistics of NCAA eligibility and the ELF are still a gray area. For this reason, it isn’t a realistic target, but one to be mentioned.  If we can get a second back to take the pressure off of Žouželka it would make a huge difference. However, the run game of the Czech league is one of the weaker in Europe, so finding a player to take some of the weight off is going to be a challenge. Jakub Imr of the Ústí nad Labem Blades or Stanislav Benc of the Znojmo Knights are probably the best bets as veterans of the national league.

The offensive line is going to take some work to rebuild with retirements and a lack of top-level national talents. This is the reason for the withholding of European spots. We still have all six spots and three of them will be spent on the offensive line to create a strong spine for the offense. We will be inviting every offensive lineman from the Prague Black Panthers, there is no question about that. However, there are so many options for the line over the next few years with the influx of European and international players in the college system. The focal point of the whole offensive line recruiting is Luke Felix Fualalo. The Australian is currently in his senior year at Hawaii. The former Mater Dei and Utah lineman is 6’8 and 310 pounds and could be the cornerstone of the line if we were able to land him. Since he is an Australian, he would count the same as a European spot.

Luke Felix Fualalo

Petr Svoboda from Texas Wesleyan University would be a prime target because of his NAIA experience. The redshirt junior does have eligibility left but doesn’t hurt to have a deep board, even more so when he is a Czech national player. Jasper Friis is an athlete that everyone should have on their boards, even as a potential NFL IPP or CFL Global prospect. He currently resides at McNeese State University as a junior player, having also spent time in Jackson State following a transfer. It’s unclear how much eligibility Jasper has given he has transferred on several occasions (University of California, Snow College, Iowa Central Community College, Jackson State, McNeese State) but it’s suggested he has one year left from his Twitter. The German Brazilian does have the potential to be a key player given his size, aggression, and versatility, it’s just a case of getting him to Prague that may cause challenges. We have two European tackles and some potential targets with the interior line but to continue the commitment to keeping the line strong we want to go after Nouredin Nouili of Nebraska. Once again, if Nouili isn’t on every single European board I don’t know who is. He was a regular starter at guard this season for Nebraska and before that he was the first true freshman offensive lineman to start for Colorado State since 1996 before his walk-on and subsequent scholarship to Nebraska. He is one of the best linemen to come out of Europe, possibly ever in terms of their success at the next level. The German would complete our offensive line and instantly turn the Lions Oline into one of the most talented in all of European Football.

Concluding our offensive unit, we need to look for a suitable tight end. This is a difficult position to find in not only the Czech Republic but in Europe unless you’re located in Germany. It is probably best for our team to prioritize the running and passing game around the back and receivers respectively. This is another instance of looking into the Black Panthers and Vysočina Gladiators, although the Black Panthers and Gladiators don’t have a tight end listed on the roster. Perhaps it is a niche part of the Czech league that isn’t utilized often. The Lions didn’t often line up with an extra man on the line either, even when they had an import in that position. So, let’s stick to what people in the team know and run without a designated player in that position. It could potentially lead to more creativity on the line and some disguised playcalling if we are creative on offense.

Improving the Defense

James Brooks is the cornerstone of the defense

The radical overhaul does not end with the offense, we need to give Disch the best unit possible if we expect to have any results this year. Getting started with the American spots on the team, James Brooks was the best defensive piece on the team, and it wasn’t particularly close. He had 8.5 sacks in 10 games for the Lions while being the main target of the pass protection. Brooks would be a player that I would like to bring back onto the team. The second American slot was changed during the season between linebacker Evan Richardson and defensive back Terrance Newell II. Still, with the current state of the league, at least one American defensive back is imperative. Marquise Manning was a sleeper player in Milano who performed well and earned praise towards the end of the season for being a bright spark in a difficult position. If we can lure him out of Italy it could be an under-the-radar signing that can provide a big return on investment.

With Brooks on the defensive line, we can start to build around him. Ideally, we would have a European spot at every level of the field for balance. With the Czech talent not being at the same level as the local talent in Germany, Austria, or France, I think it is best to have our last three Europeans on each level. Adam Raine is a Yale graduate from the UK who is signed to the Edmonton Elks as a Global player and Merinio Dendoe is a Morgan State graduate from Holland., Both of these guys would be on the board as they offer size, interior pressure, and high-level experience. The odds may be low in getting them due to the CFL, but the defensive line did not get the desired penetration last season. It has to be a big emphasis to bring in experienced players who can pass their knowledge to the national players.

Toby Naylor

Moving upfield, the linebacker position is going to be a challenge. The defense lacked athletic speed and movement, so we need a European who possesses these traits. This is no easy task. A player who is going to be on the radar for this slot is  . The British linebacker will inject more youth into the team. He has just graduated from Brevard College as a multiple-time USA South All-Conference and has shown himself to be a durable, reliable, and solid all-around linebacker will a high ceiling. As the aim of this rebuild is to get young and build foundations, Naylor could be exactly what we need for the position. Alternatively, Timi Nuikka from the Wroclaw Panthers could also fit the bill. The general rule of thumb has been to not mention other players in previous rebuilds, but Nuikka would also be a great fit in this philosophy, so his inclusion is a highly valued target.

One of the better young talents out of the country right now is Jakub from the Gladiators. He plays corner and safety at the club and country level which gives him positional flexibility; however, he could also see time as a nickel or outside linebacker—further adding to his potential value. He would pair well with the established players given he has played with the majority of them on the national team. Vilijo Lempinen who played for the Berln Thunder, is one of the most underrated defensive backs in the league. If he can be taken from Berlin it would establish the defensive backs unit as a young, lengthy group with high potential that could be a big advantage with the improved defensive line. Yani Gouadfel is also an under-the-radar player that I imagine Paris will be coveting all off-season. The defensive All-Star from France currently attends Bishops University in Canada and is in the middle of his senior year. He is lengthy just like Lempinen but would require less in the way of alternative contract competition.

Special Teams Upgrades

As the team has already seen a radical amount of movement in every position, it is safe to say that specials will look very different at every level. The Lions didn’t score much last season either so it’s hard to assume a kicker’s ability. Combines and trails will help identify the need if it is present. The added speed should suit us well for returns, as will be increased youth and athleticism on the defensive aspect of the return duty.

Key Moves


Stable, safe quarterback who can lead the team.

More depth at the running back to help Žouželka.

Heavily rebuilding on the offensive line.

Star receiver who can pair with the new QB.


Spine of European talent.

Youth and energy throughout the units.

Mixing experienced players with younger athletes.

Finding durable players that can play the full season.

In summary…

This was a long rebuild, I appreciate everyone who made it this far. The Prague Lions will not be fixed in one season, it will be a long process of building the quality of players within the Czech Republic. However, this gives us a base, more opportunities to compete and a more marketable team for the future.

Next, I will be tackling the Stuttgart Surge’s attempt to rebound after their loss in the championship game.

Until next time.