Søllerød Gold Diggers a legitimate title contender as Denmark’s National League set to start

The Søllerød Gold Diggers will hit the field Saturday, August 8 to take on the visiting Allborg 89ers in the first game of the Danish National League’s ‘post COVID-19 lockdown’ season.

This will be the second league in the world to play a season of football since the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe.

The National League will kick off the season with five teams who have all been practicing in pads for the past three weeks. The Danish top division will play a truncated season with each team playing only four games with the regular season winding up September 12.

Søllerød finished the 2019 season with a 8-2 record, reaching the Danish semifinals where they were eliminated in a thriller by the eventual champions, the Triangle Razorbacks 20-16. In fact, since 2009, the Gold Diggers have been one of Denmark’s premier teams having won the title twice (2009, 2010) reached the Final four more times and made the semifinals four times. They have only missed the playoffs once (2018) in that time span.

Although, this is a different kind of preseason, the Gold Diggers have been able to make use of the extra time. With team practice not allowed until earlier in July, one-on-one skill work as well as online sessions have been invaluable. Head coach Troels Vestergaard has actually been able to take advantage of the forced break due to the virus:

“The startup was actually an alright time for us., where we focused on individual work on the field and theory in online sessions. It gave us an opportunity to go into detail with a lot of stuff.”

Gold Diggers general manager Casper Reinhardt, together with Vestergaard, has put together an impressive lineup of imports, who could propel the team into the final.

“This year’s group of imports, is something unique. Not only have we managed to recruit really high caliber football players, but also high quality people who’re going to help us grow and improve. We’ve set out to improve our culture and so far these guys have done nothing else but impress us.”

The Gold Diggers will have Idaho State Bengals Tanner Gueller as their starting quarterback. The 6’3″, 235 pound Rochester, Washington native threw for 9,061 yards and 74 touchdowns in his four year career with the Bengals. His key receiver will likely be Team Denmark wide receiver Thomas Ashworth who has 40 passes for 741 yards and eight touchdowns in seven games in 2019.  Anchoring the offensive line for the Gold Diggers will be another starting national team player, tackle Troels Thorbjørn Nielsen. Christian Vahl is expected to start at running back. Vahl led the Danish league in rushing last year before suffering a season-ending injury.

The head coach likes the composition of his team:

“The team is looking good. We have a good mix of young talented team players who will blend well with a very good group of import players.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Vestergaard will rely on 6’2″. 250 pound defensive end/linebacker Logan Dykstra (Sioux Falls Cougars). In his career, Dykstra recorded 71 career tackles, including 32 solo tackles in 34 games and had 11.5 tackles for loss for the Cougars. Alongside him on the defensive line will be Swedish national team member David Strobel who will be commuting from south Sweden, while another Idaho State player, Kody Graves will start at linebacker. In his senior year at ISU, the 6’1″, 215 pound Graves recorded 98 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. The defensive secondary will feature DB Ajdin Durdjevic who had transferred over from the Kronborg Knights last season but tore his ACL.

Coach Vestergaard likes his chances this year:

“We expect an exciting season, with tough competition for the championship. If we get of the a good start, I think we have a good chance to go all the way.”

The Gold Diggers will open their season on August 8 when they play host to the Aalborg 89ers


August 8: Aalbord 89ers @Søllerød Gold Diggers

August 14: Søllerød Gold Diggers @Copenhagen Towers

August 29: Aarhus Tigers @Søllerød Gold Diggers

Sept. 6: Søllerød Gold Diggers @Triangle Razorbacks

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