Potsdam Royals sign former Seattle Seahawks sixth round pick Kristjan Sokoli

The Potsdam Royals of the German Football League have bolstered an already impressive roster with the signing of former NFL defensive end and offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli from Albania.

Sokoli was picked up by the Seattle Seahawks with the 214th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft after an impressive collegiate career at the University of Buffalo (NCAA D1) where he played alongside future NFL Defensive MVP Khalil Mack.

Sokoli’s father, Gjon, had fled from Albania during the late 1990s to seek political asylum as civil war broke out in that southeastern European state. His mother joined Gjon two years later, and Kristjan arrived with his younger brother two years after that.

Upon arrival in the US, Gjon worked and lived in an apartment complex as a maintenance worker earning just $45 a day. The family spoke no English but were taken under the wing of cousin Edmir, who had arrived in the US five years prior. 

In 2015, Sokoli made history by being the first-ever Albanian to play in the NFL. After a year with the Seattle Seahawks the 6’5″, 300 pound Albanian jumped around the league for four years playing both sides of the ball before signing with the XFL team DC Defenders in 2020. In 2021 he played in The Spring League for the Alphas where he was ranked as a top NFL prospect.

Sokoli will be joining a Potsdam Royals side that could well be one of the league favorites after a dominating start to the season.


Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.