American football continues to grow and thrive in soccer-mad Portugal. This weekend, the Portuguese Association of American Football (APFA) will be holding tryouts at INATEL Games Park in Lisbon for its first-ever national team.
Head coach Sebastian Serrano is putting together Team Portugal to represent the nation starting 2019 when European Championship qualifications begin again. The European Championships are held every four years and qualifications for the next tournament to be held in Berlin, Germany in 2018 are almost over with the final qualifiers scheduled for 2017.
Germany is the reigning champion after beating Austria in a thriller in 2014.
The camp this weekend will give the club players in Portugal their first taste of competing with rival team members for a spot on the national team. Unable to compete for the next European Championships, Serrano will be preparing his squad with international exhibition games over the next two years.
Two-day tryout camp
Scheduled over two days this weekend, the tryout camp is expected to attract up to 100 prospective players which Serrano must whittle down to a 45 man roster. Camp tryouts kick off at 12 noon Saturday October 8 and everything winds up with a full scrimmage on Sunday October 9, also at noon.
As the Portuguese federation aptly puts it, the players who make it will be able to look back and proudly say:
“I was part of the first American football national team in Portugal!”