Switzerland’s LUCAF Owls Sign LB Derek Hurschman

Switzerland’s Lausanne Owls, the Lausanne University Club American Football (LUCAF) team, who finished fifth in the six team Swiss league in 2016, have added American talent for their 2017 season.

Derek Hurschman, a linebacker from Upper Iowa University, will join the Owls for their 2017 National League A Switzerland (SAFV) and Ligue Romande (NSFL) seasons.

Hurschman played at the College of the Siskiyous junior college before earning a scholarship to Upper Iowa University, which plays in the NCAA Division II and is a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). He played both defensive end and linebacker for the Peacocks, leading the team in sacks his senior year.

American Football International chatted with Hurschman about his signing.

American Football International: How did you come to sign with team in Lausanne?

Derek Hurschman: After college, I wanted to continue to play football, so I made a profile on Europlayers.com. After contacting many coaches and teams, I was lucky enough to have John LeKalf—a former Lausanne player—reach out to me and ask if was interested in going out to Switzerland to play. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. The management and former players I communicated with over the past few months were very friendly and helpful in making me feel welcomed and wanted by their program. Finally, Alec Huitdeux—who is the President of LUCAF—contacted me a few weeks ago to finalize the offer, and sent me contract a few days ago.

AFI: Did you know about American football in Switzerland or Europe before now?

DH: Yes, I had heard of American football in Europe, but only on a small level. When I was kid, I would occasionally see NFL Europe games being played on NFL network. Aside from that, I had a coach from my junior college, College of the Siskiyous, who played quarterback for a team in Germany. I also had info on football in Europe from two coaches that I played for at my university who had coached in Europe—Mike Caniglia and Justin Wyatt. Other than that, I had very little exposure to American football in Europe.

AFI: What are you looking forward to most about playing football in Switzerland?

DH: It is difficult to pinpoint just one thing I am looking forward to most. I would have to say just being able to continue to play the game I love, and help Lausanne compete for a championship. Football has been such a huge part of my life, and really shaped me into the young man I am today. I feel a debt to give back to the game and players who want to learn more about this beautifully chaotic game. I’m sure it sounds cliché, but football truly is a lifestyle.

Another thing I am really looking forward to is being a part of a new team and family. I have played football in four different states, and everywhere I have played I have left with guys that I call my brothers still to this day. I would do anything for those guys, as I know they would do the same for me. And of course, I’m excited see a bit of Europe while I am there!

AFI: What do you think you can bring to the club in 2017?

DH: I spoke with the management and some former players about what they were expecting, and the type of player they wanted to bring in. They communicated with me that they were looking to bring in an aggressive player, who is a coachable leader on and off the field, in part to help coach up some of the guys they have on the team who are eager to learn more about football. I definitely think they made the right choice in giving me the opportunity in that manner.

Other than that, I plan to bring a strong work ethic and high level of energy, fun, and passion to increase the level of play and relationship of the whole team. The great teams that I have played on in the past were all brothers; everyone was willing to do whatever it took for the team and put aside individual goals. When a team can put egos aside, and truly “ride or die” for their brother, there is nothing they cannot collectively achieve. I truly am just so excited to get out there my new brothers and do what I love to do most in this world.

Interested in playing American football in overseas? Register on Europlayers.com.

Europlayers, is the largest online database of American football players, teams and coaches.  It is a connector, bringing together and introducing athletes to overseas teams. On the site you can begin researching teams around the world and, once you create a profile, you become searchable by hundreds of American football clubs around the world.

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.