Versatility comes second nature to Gijon Mariners WR Alejandro Herrero

When the Gijon Mariners dropped a lopsided loss to the Osos Rivas a week ago, one bright spot on the field for the Mariners was receiver Alex Herrero.

The speedy receiver caught two touchdowns injecting energy into a lethargic Mariners passing game.  On the other side of the ball the 5’11″ 210 pound athlete was playing middle linebacker trying to hold together Gijon’s defense. At the end of the day, the score wasn’t even close but the Mariners left the field knowing they had a budding star and all around team player in the 23-year-old Herrero.

Herrero revels in his many roles with the Mariners:

“I played receiver, I tried a few plays at running back, we already have good running backs, and I was more needed in defense, I played outside linebacker and middle linebacker. You name it, we all have to play the position that the team needs.”

Photo: Paula Romo

Herrero’s versatility makes him a valuable asset to any team. The athletic Spaniard has made plays from many positions this season for his hometown Mariners. The two-way player has three offensive touchdowns to go along with 13 tackles and an interception in four games this season.

It isn’t his first time filling in wherever his team needed him. Herrero has been playing internationally for the Stirling University Clansmen in Scotland since 2018. Herrero arrived on campus as a linebacker and safety hybrid. After playing defense and special teams in 2018, the Clansmen needed him to shoulder the load at the running back position. Herrero excelled at his new position and was named the team’s 2019 offensive MVP after only switching to offense at the season’s halfway point. Herrero earned praise from his coaches for his ability to make defenders miss in the open field and break off long explosive runs. Herrero’s development is due in part to the school’s Spanish running backs coach, Miguel Luengo. The versatile Herrero absolutely loved his new role as the University’s feature back,

“It felt amazing! I feel like I discovered my position. I discovered a whole new world.”

Herrero found a spot at the University of Stirling after he attended a national team tryout for Spain’s U19 squad. While at the camp, Herrero impressed coach Victor Peredo, Spain’s national team linebackers coach. Coach Peredo’s day job was leading the Stirling Clansmen American football team. He noticed Herrero’s aggressive play style and athleticism and quickly convinced him to enroll and join his Scottish powerhouse program.

Herrero discovered it was easy to study and play at the University of Stirling.

“Apparently if you are European you don’t have to pay to University if you go to Scotland. It was a good shot to be honest.”

Alejandro Herrero playing for the University of Stirling Clansmen Photo: John Cattigan Ryan

Before Herrero was winning awards and starring in Scotland’s American football scene, he was excelling in an unusual individual sport, canoeing. Herrero’s strength and athleticism helped him shine in canoeing competitions. After some time, the avid canoer wanted to try a team sport in order to develop as an athlete.

“I was tired of doing an individual sport. I was good but not good enough to get to the top. It was so boring to always be coming in 3rd or 4th place.”

A local football team in Herero’s hometown the Gijon Mariners visited his high school looking for new players. Herrero joined the team and immediately fell in love with the game. His strength and speed convinced the Mariners coaches to let him play for both the U19 and senior teams. The decision paid off as the rookie won MVP of the Junior team.

Herrero explains his early success on the gridiron.

“I was very strong at that time because of canoeing so I just wanted to play at the highest level, and it went very well.”

Alejandro Herrero finds running room for the Gijon Mariners Photo: GN Photography

The ambitious Herrero is looking to push his football career to new heights. It seems the Spain’s newest team, the Costa Daurada Gladiators in the European League of Football, ELF, have caught the eye of Gijon’s most versatile player.

“My focus now is on the Gladiators combine, to see if I can get some good times, and have a good try-out and see where that takes me.”

The Gijon Mariners take on the undefeated Las Rozas Black Demons this weekend. This is will be a great opportunity for the ambitious 23-year-old to test himself against some of the best players in Spain.

“Even though it’s a hard task to win, it’s a pleasure to measure myself against their good players.”

Watch the Gijon Mariners play the Las Rozas Black Demons, Saturday, March 6 at 5 pm (17:00) Central European Time (11 am Eastern Time) on AFI.tv.
Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football