Bratislava Monarchs embody American football with Slovak style

NETKY.SK • 29 Január 2019, 11:36 • 2 min
Bratislava Monarchs embody American football with Slovak style

BRATISLAVA-Slovak students huddle together with professional realtors, technology workers and even police officers, a few times a week to play American-style football in Slovakia.


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Slovak students huddle together with professional realtors, technology workers and even police officers, a few times a week to play American-style football in Slovakia. 


While Slovakia sports almost six teams across the country, the Bratislava Monarchs embody the biggest Slovak brand for the brutal American gridiron game first played 150 years ago by two universities, Rutgers vs Princeton.  Women also play an active part by not only cheerleading to elevate team spirit but also, in the Monarch’s “U19” (or under 19 years of age) case, by featuring a woman player. The result is a uniquely Slovak scene for American football.


To play American football, they slip-on shoulder pads and strap-on helmets to protect themselves, and each other, from the continuous heavy blows to the body. On every play, they block for — or tackle — the player running with the football before he reaches the goal line for a “touchdown.”   Many players are over one hundred kilos and train year around with weightlifting and other exercises, so the physical challenge is intense.


In 2019, the Monarchs aim to compete in two leagues: the Austrian Football League (AFL) and the Slovak Football League (SFL).   The AFL’s level of competition is as high as anywhere in Europe, and the Monarchs are the only Slovak team to play in this higher-level league.


Slovaks started playing football in 1995 when Ludovit Galka got 30 guys together within 3-4 months of recruiting.  By 1996, Galka coached the Monarch’s first game against the A1 Union Rangers of Austria. Teams got going in Bratislava, Trnava, Zilina, Nitra, Zvolen, Kosice, and now teams exist across the country including.


Eleven players are on the field at a time for each of the two teams, so they must have many more players to support each other in the grueling game.  Full teams usually have a full roster of forty players.


The Monarchs now practice with team trainings two times a week, Wednesdays and Sundays, as it is only a hobby.  They also do strength training two times a week with weightlifting.  Summer is game season, from April to July, so their training is now intensifying as the season is approaching, with an upcoming event — the Rulers’ Ball — to elevate the profile of team and build a bigger base of support.


Monarch’s Head Coach, Peter Melus, sees the biggest challenge for Slovak football is “working with young players…Juniors are the alpha and omega of all in football, so it’s important to get more young players into American football because they are the future of football around the world.  The second biggest challenge is our summer qualification game in Italy for the 2019 European Championship for U19 (under 19 years-old) players.  If we want to be there, we need to win our qualification game against France, who is the clear ‘favorite’ to win but we will give it our best game.  We have enough time to prepare our junior team and to show-up with a good performance.  Last junior season in 2018 we showed enough talent, but now we need to follow my philosophy: ‘HARD WORK BEATS TALENTE WHEN TALENT FAILS TO WORK HARD.’



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