Portugal: Future American Football Power Rising in Europe!

“Europe, prepare yourself for Portugal!”

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]FI had the opportunity to speak with Andre Amorin, public relations contact for the APDFA or Associação Promotora do Desporto de Futebol Americano, of Portugal. American Football is a growing in Portugal and the goal or AFI’s Q&A is learn about the current state and bright future of American Football in Portugal!

  1. Hi, Andre! What is the Portuguese Association of American Football?
    The APDFA is the entity that coordinates everything about American Football in Portugal. We are trying to be a Federation the soonest possible but it’s still not a reality. In 2014 we hope to be a Federation and we currently have around 500 players playing American Football in Portugal.
  2. What is the difference between the Liga Portuguese de Futebol Americano (LFPA) and APDFA?
    The LPFA is the sigma for the league it is the competition that is organized by the APDFA, the association.
  3. Tell us a little about yourself and your role in the organization.
    My name is André Amorim and I have played for the Lisboa Navigators for the past 6 years. We played in the 2nd division in Spain against the Reus Imperials, Valencia Giants and last year we played a friendly match against Osos Rivas. In Portugal the Navigators and have won the first four editions of the league.This year, I have left the Navigators team and joined a new project in Lisbon, the Lisboa Devils, and we are going to enter the league for the first time as a Devils.Porto FA LPFA IVIn the APDFA, I am the public relations contact and I try to navigate everything about this sport and maintain good contact between all the teams.I have also a project (FA PORTUGAL) that is like a social network for American Football in Portugal. We follow the Portuguese League, NFL, NCAA, everything about American Football in the world.
  4. When and how was your organization formed? What is the story behind the founding of your organization?
    The association was founded in 2008 and the first year of the Portuguese league was 2009. For the first 2 years the President was Fernando Campos, who was then succeeded by Amílcar Piedade, the current president. He has been making a lot of efforts to make American Football grow in Portugal.
  5. How many active athletes/players are in your organization?
    Around 500 players/athletes.
  6. How many teams/levels of competition are there in your organization?
    Only one league with nine Portuguese teams and one Spanish team, the Galiza Black Ravens. We hope that in the 5th edition (5th season) of the league we will grow to twelve teams with two more teams being formed in the southern region of the country (the Lisboa Devils and Evora Longhorns). The other teams that currently compete are  the Lisboa Navigators, Porto Renegades, Crusaders CFA, Algarve Pirates, Altis Paredes Lumberjacks, Maximinos Warriors, Canidelo Celtics, Porto Mutts and Santa Iria Wolves.
  7. What are some of the challenges your organization has faced?
    The main problem is finding sponsors and people who are willing to help the teams and this sport grow in Portugal.
  8. Do you receive any support from governmental organizations?
    Nothing. 🙁
  9. What are some of the challenges you foresee for American Football in Portugal?
    We have to invest in American Football from a young age.  We must try to make kids interested in American Football and try to make it a sport that they want to play when they grow up. That is a challenge we are going to have and we will have to try to implement it.
  10. How does Portuguese law and customs affect your ability to development American Football?
    The laws do not affect us at all. But the customs are very boring. It is also hard to get equipment in Portugal so we have it delivered from outside the country.  Although, it’s cheaper in the U.S., everything that comes from outside the European Union is taxed heavily. So yes, that can slow us down a bit.
  11. Are there many NFL & NCAA American Football fans in Portugal?
    Yes there are a lot of NFL followers in Portugal. NCAA is a little more unknown for people but NFL is very, very followed by the Portuguese people.
  12. Which NFL teams are followed by the people Portugal?
    We have fans for almost every team but New York Giants, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens I think are the most loved ones 🙂
    Lisboa Navigators, Portuguese 2013 Champions

    Lisboa Navigators, Portuguese 2013 Champions

  13. Have you established a schedule? When does your season begin and end?
    Our season usually begins in January and ends in May. Our teams begin practice in September and continue through  May. The playoffs are played end of April and the final is in May.
  14. Do your teams have access to the proper equipment and facilities?
    Equipment? Yes! But almost every player must buy his own. Also facilities are very hard to come by and teams often must play on soccer fields.
  15. What are you organization’s short-term (1-3 years) and long-term (3+ years) goals?
    Our main goal is to become a Federation. After that maybe get a National Team going. But for now … become a FEDERATION! That will be very very important for the sport to give that next step regarding players, sponsors and so on. In the long-term I would have to go with the creation of the national football team. We would like to start to have teams playing in the Eurobowl, and against all the other teams around Europe.
  16. Can you share an interesting cultural experience you’ve had in your country while trying to explain what American Football is and how it is played?
    In Portugal most people love soccer so American Football is often overlooked by people. We try to make them believe there is room for every sport only, they only must open their minds!
  17. What are events/projects are in the immediate future for your league?
    We are going to have the 5th edition of the League in January 2014. We are still trying to see if there is going to be a National Cup between the Portuguese teams but that’s not guaranteed due to expenses.
  18. Tell us more about your goals for FA Portugal?
    My goal is to help the league and this sport grow in Portugal. Now our main channel for communication is Facebook, but our YouTube channel is growing very fast. You can check the video for the final of the 4th edition of the league here:
  19. Are there any other things you’d like to let the world know about American Football in Portugal?
    We are growing and we are coming. Europe, prepare yourself for Portugal. Anyone that want’s to know anything about American Football in Portugal, come and follow us at www.facebook.com/FAPORTUGALCOM or WWW.FAPORTUGAL.COM.
If you would like to contact or follow the progress of the APDFA (Associação Promotora do Desporto de Futebol Americano):
Andre Amorim: [email protected]
Facebook: FA Portugal

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.