Veterans of Europe stand out in USFL

As the United States Football League has kicked off its inaugural season, hundreds of players across the league will be introduced to the American public thanks to national television deals. Some of these players have played in Europe in recent years and are returning to the USA to try to make their mark in the new league.

Here are eight veterans of the European football scene who are suiting up for USFL teams this year.

Kavontae Turpin WR

Photo: Lukas Skwiot

The former standout at TCU makes his football return to the United States as he joins the New Jersey Generals in the inaugural season of the USFL. He last played with the Wroclaw Panthers of the European League of Football (ELF), where he racked up 702 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns in just five games in the 2021 season. At just 5’9”, 155 pounds, Turpin is an undersized yet explosive player who has thrived on special teams as a returner throughout his career, and he is in line to be the Generals’ primary return man this year.

Kolin Hill DE

Kolin Hill Photo: Marco Leipold City-Press GmbH

Defensive end Kolin Hill also plays for the Generals this year after spending last year in the ELF with the Berlin Thunder. In 10 games in the 2021 season with the Thunder, Hill had 20 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown. Hill split his college football between stops at Notre Dame and Texas Tech. The Generals are expecting big things from their 3rd round draft pick.

Jarey Elder DB

Jarey Elder avoiding tacklers while playing for the Milano Seamen Photo: Dario Fumagalli

Jarey Elder joins the New Orleans Breakers this year after spending last year with the Milano Seamen of the Italian Football League. With the Seamen, Elder played both running back and defensive back, and helped the team reach the league championship game. Back in the United States, the 5’11”, 195-pound Elder will primarily focus on his duties as a defensive back. An alum of West Chester University in Pennsylvania, this year’s USFL season will be the biggest stage for Elder to show off his abilities.

Kristjan Sokoli OL

Kristjan Sokoli #74 playing for the Potsdam Royals in the German Football League Photo: Obotzki

The Houston Gamblers used their 2nd round pick on offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli, a 30-year-old veteran who looks to be a stable piece on the Gamblers’ offensive front. The 6’5”, 300-pound bruising lineman has a unique story, as he fled his birth country of Albania at the age of nine to seek political asylum in the United States after being separated from his parents for multiple years. In the United States, he developed into a great football player, playing college football at the University of Buffalo. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2015 and spent a few years on multiple teams in the NFL. Sokoli spent last year with the Potsdam Royals of the German Football League, and now makes his return to the United States.

Dominique Martin DB

A former standout at Tarleton State University in Texas, Dominique Martin will be suiting up for the Michigan Panthers this season. After starting out at wide receiver in college, Martin switched to defensive back after three years, and thrived in the position his senior. Now at 28 years old, he makes his way to the Panthers after a long and winding career, having spent 2018 with the Cologne Crocodiles of the German Football League. He most recently spent time with the Green Bay Packers before the 2021 NFL season, and now looks for a fresh start with the Panthers.

Dartez Jacobs DB

Defensive back Dartez Jacobs comes back to the United States after spending the past couple of years abroad. After stints with Shenzen of the AFU New Year China Bowl and the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions and the Kirchdorf Wildcats (both based in Germany), Jacobs spent last year with the Cologne Centurions of the ELF. The Atlanta native played collegiately at Georgia State University in college, and now moves onto the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL.

Madre London RB

Madre London breaking tackles as RB for the Cologne Centurions Photo: Sarah Phillip

Last year’s MVP of the ELF, Madre London comes to the Steel City to join the Pittsburgh Maulers. Playing with the Cologne Centurions last year, London racked up 2,177 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns in just 11 games. For perspective, he finished with double the yards of the second-place rusher. The 6’1”, 220 pound Arkansas played his college ball at Michigan State and Tennessee, and now looks to make a name for himself in the USFL.

Dale Warren LB

Another veteran of the ELF, linebacker Dale Warren spent last year with the Stuttgart Surge. The former star at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga also spent time with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League in 2019. Now signed on with the Pittsburgh Maulers, the 26-year-old native of Covington, Georgia will be looking to have a breakout year in his return to the United States

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.