The Serbian American Football League launched its 2019 season this weekend with six teams vying for the title.
Including the defending champion Kragujevac Wild Boars, the league will also feature the Belgrade Blue Dragons and Jagodina Black Hornets in Conference A with the perennial contenders SBB Vukovi Belgrade, along with the the Indija Meridian Indians and Novi Sad Wild Dogs in Conference B.
Each team will play a total of seven games both within their conference and with teams from the other conference. The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals with the Serbian Bowl scheduled for the weekend of July 6/7.
Kragujevac Wild Boars (2018: 9-0 Serbian champions)
The defending champion Kragujevac wild Boars have added four imports to the roster this year. The offense will be led by quarterback Jake Sisson, a member of the United States National Team, who has been building a career at Edinburgh University. The running back spot will be filled by Nick LaSane (Montana University). Brazilian wide receiver Pedro Enrico Medici has also joined the Wild Boars along with Spanish defensive back, Tachu Orue Hernandez.
Kragujevac head coach Aleksandar Ristić Alf is back for another season. The Wild Boars will again be the favorites to win the title.
SBB Vukovi Belgrade (2018: 7-2 Finalists)
After the disappointment of losing to Kragujevac in the Serbian final, Vukovi has added one of the best running backs in Europe, former University of Texas RB Joe Bergeron. At quarterback, the team has brought in Levi Plante (Redlands University) while the new head coach is Robert Churchman. Major changes in three key positions.
Expect Vukovi to be in the hunt for the title.
Belgrade Blue Dragons (2018: 4-5, Semifinalists)
After a disappointing regular season in 2018, the Blue Dragons still managed to regroup and win their wild card playoff game, beating the Jagodina Black Hornets only to succumb to the Wild Boars in the semifinals. With the return of quarterback George Bowen and addition of linebacker Raymond Clapper (Benedictine University), the Blue Dragons are poised to improve in 2019.
Jagodina Black Hornets (2018: 4-4)
The Black Hornets were surprisingly eliminated in the wild card playoff round in 2018 by the Belgrade Blue Dragons after a respectable first season in the top league in Serbia. They opened the year with four straight wins but then suffered three consecutive losses heading into the playoffs. The team has signed quarterback Christopher Pope (Griffith University) and linebacker Kurtis Bent (Bethel College). Jagodina have also signed three Bulgarian players, Kostadin Filchev, Aleksandar Shterionov and Slav Slavov.
Meridian Indija Indians (2018: 5-3, Semifinalists)
The Indians will start another season without a head coach and at this point without a quarterback either. Edward Maney had been signed but left the team. So the team that had had its best season in Serbia for a long time, may be struggling out of the gate. Linebacker Robert James Rosario (Keiser University) has been added though.
Novi Sad Wild Dogs (New to the league)
The newest member of the Serbian American Football League has opted to play without imports in 2019. Head coach Vladislav Petkovic, who was formerly head coach for the Novi Sad dukes that folded last season, will be relying on many of his former players. This will be an interesting experiment.