Swedish 2016 Season Kicks Off As The Tyresö Royal Crowns Host The Carlstad Crusaders

The Swedish American football season kicks off the 2016 season tonight with a bang as the six-time and reigning Swedish champions, the Carlstad Crusaders travel to Stockholm to take on the only team to defeat them in 2015, the Tyresö Royal Crowns.

The game, which will be nationally broadcast on TV4 in Sweden in the first Friday Night Football event , promises excitement as both teams come in loaded.

Head coach Tracey Gere has returned to Carlstad after spending the past four years in the United States coaching football. He is joined by offensive coordinator Stephen Parker, who led the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes in Germany to the playoffs in 2015.

Sweden - Niznak-Juhlin

Alex Niznak & Philip Juhlin Photos: Jari Turunen, Hans Cullberg

With the departure of quarterback Anders Hermodsson to Italy, the Crusaders have turned to his constant rival for top quarterback in Sweden, Swedish-American Philip Juhlin from the Kristianstad Predators. Juhlin is known as a play-maker and has a knack of making things happen.

The backfield still looks the same with powerful running back Brett Koepp returning.

Defensively, the Crusaders will be more or less the same, led by defensive lineman Olaf Flenstrom. Although with coach Gere as defensive coordinator, expect a few new wrinkles.

Tyresö aiming higher

Royal Crowns head coach Andreas Ehrenreich with an enormous coaching staff, is in his second year with the club and hopes to advance beyond the Swedish semifinals this year.

The team held a week-long joint training camp with Finnish champions the Helsinki Roosters.

His new quarterback Alex Niznak has a background from Central Michigan and Southeast Missouri State and has a great receiving corps. Led by national team receiver Fredrik Isaksson, Tyreso’s passing attack is dangerous.

The Royal Crowns have been busy in the off-season adding key players such as one of Sweden’s top receivers in 2015, Denny John, along with defensive lineman Robin Svallin who had played in the Czech Republic and defensive back Martin Cham.

Kickoff is 6:30 PM in Sweden.

Watch live on TV4 Sport

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.