Spain: LNFA Serie A 2023 League Preview

Football in Spain is back in action as the LNFA Serie A kicks off week one.

The Spanish National League of American Football, LNFA (Liga Nacional de Fútbol Americano) kicks off January 14 with a total of 10 teams vying for the title.

This year the league will be split into five teams in the Eastern and Western conferences. Each team will play eight games, one home and one away against each team in their own conference.

The semifinals are scheduled for the weekend of April 15 with the championship final on April 29.

Western Conference

Osos Rivas: LNFA 2022 Champions

The Osos Rivas hope to defend their LNFA title this year after winning their first LNFA title in 25 years. Veteran
Head Coach Ricardo Martin, looks to hoist the trophy again as the Madrid-based club is one of the league favorites this season.

 Key Returning Players: DL Johnny Escobar (Mexico), QB Sergio Barbera (Barcelona Dragons), Ruben Caja, WR David Giron (Frankfurt Universe, Guatemala) WR Alvaro Guitian, LB Jorge Juarez (Mexico City Mexicas, Mexico), and DB Daniel Docal (Shwabisch Hall Unicorns, Leipzig Kings)

Key Additions: OL/DL Efren Tapia (Mexico) LB Marco Zarate (Águilas Blancas IPN, Mexico/Spain) LB Sam Taylor (Vienna Vikings, USA) DB Ronald Tomasella (Mallorca Voltors, 2022 LNFA DPOY, USA)

LG Black Demons: LNFA Runner-Ups & 2022 Spanish Cup Champions

The other Madrid club, the LG Black Demons were runner ups to tier cross-town rivals. The Black Demons responded by finding new head head coach Sam Eisenstadt former Swedish Champion coach with the Orebro Black Knights in 2021. The team rallied and won the Spanish Cup (No-import tournament) in December. 

Key Returning Players: OL Daniel Mulas, RB Dani Romero, RB Marcos de la Mata, OL David Culebras, DL Alejandro Ruiz.

Key Additions: QB Theo Landers (Guelph U, Frankfurt Universe, Canada,), WR Luis Moreno (Frankfurt Galaxy, Germany) DB Cewin Eriksson (Orebro Black Knights, Sweden), DB Phillip Batista Grondahl (Orebro Black Knights, Sweden),

Gijon Mariners

The Mariners will look to compete in a tough Western Conference with only import player. However the veteran group returns much of its core from last season. The lone import will be Sergio Cebado who is a Mexican dual threat passer who has also played as a DB/WR for the Ingolstadt Dukes (GFL2) in Germany. The team also returns several alumni with ELF experience. 

Head Coach: Honorio Arias

Key Returning Players: Javier Castañón (Barcelona Dragons), Cesar Sawane (Barcelona Dragons), Mikel Gómez (Barcelona Dragons) and Alex Herrero (Barcelona Dragons)

Key Additions: QB Sergio Cebado (Mexico)

Camioneros Coslada: LNFA Serie B Quarterfinalists

Head coach Raul Saavedra and the Camioneros move up from LNFA Serie B and will look to prove they belong in Spain’s top league. The team brings back a strong core of players who were able to capture the LNFA Serie B title last season.

Key Returning Players: QB Hector Hernandez (Mexico) OL/DL Alan Sousa (Mexico)

Key Additions: LB Peter Stevanak (Serbia) WR MJ Williams (Copenhagen Towers, USA)

Alcobendas Cavaliers: LNFA Serie B Champions

Head coach Michael Wood, former multiple time Italian Bowl Champion with the Milano Seamen takes over as the Cavaliers return to the LNFA A for the first time in 30 years. The Cavaliers reached the semi-finals in December’s Spanish Cup.

Head Coach: Ignacio Pliego

Defensive Coordinator: Michael Wood

Key Returning Players: DL Victor Dos Santos, QB David Yu, DE Leo Rovesti, DB/WR Javier Ramos, DB Guillermo Fernández Serrano

Eastern Conference

Lidertel Badalona Dracs: 2022 LNFA Serie A Semi-Finalists & 2022 Spanish Cup Runner Ups 

Veteran Mexican head coach Román Villamontes a former Dracs player, looks to regain the title as the league’s 11 time champions are going through a rebuild with several staff and personnel changes. At quarterback, the Dracs have signed former NCAA DI quarterback Kevin Doyle. Doyle was one of Spain’s best passers last year in Zaragoza and also spent the summer with the Düsseldorf Panthers (GFL) and Rhein Fire (ELF) in Germany

Key Returning Players: DB Mario Perez, WR David Martinez, RB Eduard Molina,  DB Jordi Rua, OL Ian Palmon, Edu Morlans, TE/WR Raúl Cernuda.

Key Additions: QB Kevin Doyle (Arizona University NCAA D1, Zaragoza Hurricanes,  USA)

Zaragoza Hurricanes

The Hurricanes are led by new head coach Fernando Renan Santana, one of several Mexican head coaches leading LNFA teams. The Hurricanes new quarterback will be Brazilian talent Luca Martinez who spent last season playing in Finland for the Rovaniemi Nordmen in the Arctic Circle. Prior to playing in Europe, Martinez played for Iowa Wesleyan Iowa (NAIA) and Washburn University (NCAA DII) in the United States.

Key Returning Players: DL Prince Bafhoh, WR Aaron David, WR Luis Sanchez

Key Additions: QB Lucas Martinez (Rovaniemi Nordmen (Finland), Brazil)

Valencia Firebats: LNFA Serie B Runner Ups

The four times Serie A champions are back in Spain’s top league after a long absence. The 2015 Serie A champion, Álvaro “Taco” Quezada will lead the Firebats in their return to Serie A. Valencia has brought in a quarterback Kenny Ramos who played for the Monterrey Tech Borregos Guadalajara in Mexico, in a high level of Mexican college football. He also played one season in the FAM league for the Pioneers.

Key Returning Players: OL Ruben Ochoa Rodriguez,

Key Additions: QB Kenny Ramos (Mexico) DT Guellermo Calderon (Mexico) 

Mallorca Voltors

Head coach Jesus Sanchez returns to lead the Voltors who look to return to the postseason. Sanchez has recruited two veteran former Barcelona Dragons players, and a young Spanish quarterback in Deigo Lliteras with a heigh ceiling and NCAA interest. 

Key Returning Players: QB Deigo Lliteras, LB Javi Alberola, WR Mattias Varrientos

Key Additions: OL/DL Sebastian Bowen, LB Victor Albarracin, 

L’Hospitalet Pioners

The Pioners will be coached by Bertu Fernandez, who looks to build up a young team.  L’Hospitalet are rumored to be bringing in several imports later in the season.

Head Coach: Bertu Fernández

Key Returning Players:

Key Additions: DL Peter Vincent (UK), DT Vladimir Yartsev Burdyn 

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and