We’re connecting American football advocates across Europe and providing them with the tools they need to succeed.
We believe in the exponential growth and future of American football in Europe. In everything we do, we strive to create an environment where this is not only likely, it’s inevitable.
By connecting American football advocates across Europe and around the world, we’re creating a community of enthusiasts who want to see this great game reach new heights. This website and book serve as a platform for people to assemble on the path to a destination where European teams can compete against any team in the world. The road to getting there starts with you.
As this community grows, we’ll be sharing with you what our vision for that future looks like. In the meantime, we’ll be posting exciting content regarding American football in Europe. We’ll have interviews, opinion articles, country reports, top-10 lists, and much more. The best way to stay updated about the website and development of the book is to sign up for our e-mail list to the right, follow us on Twitter, or “like” us on Facebook.
Travis is the founder and main contributor of The Growth of a Game and the President of Premier Class Consulting (PCC), a consulting firm facilitating the progression of sports teams and organizations throughout the United States and Europe. Prior to founding PCC, Travis was the Vice President of Business Development for Sports 1 Marketing, a business venture of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.
Travis attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, the alma mater of several influential leaders including President Barack Obama, former presidential candidate Jack Kemp, former NFL head coach Jim Mora Sr., and many more. While at Occidental, Travis played football and worked in the football recruiting office, leveraging his passion and persistence to attract several of Occidental’s top student-athletes. He was a founding member and second ever President of the Occidental Sports Business and Law Network (OSBLN), an organization that connects students to Occidental alumni currently working in the sports industry. As President of the OSBLN, Travis was credited with founding and developing the OSBLN official website as well as its social media presence. He created, organized, and moderated the Occidental NFL Alumni Event which was attended by Occidental student-athletes, coaches, and administrators. In addition to these efforts, Travis also gave seminars on the career path of general managers in professional sports as well as on social media and personal branding.
From 2008-2010 he played quarterback for the Brussels Bulls of the Belgian Football League. During his time with the Bulls, Travis also coached quarterbacks, receivers, and kick returners for the Bulls junior team. The Bulls junior team amassed a 14-1 overall record during his time with the team, winning the 2009 Junior Belgian Championship. He was also head coach of the junior varsity basketball team at St. John’s International School in Waterloo, Belgium during the 2009-2010 season. St. John’s won the JV Tournament Championship and finished with an overall record of 24-1. Additionally, Travis has been affiliated with several teams in Europe as a consultant, including the Calanda Broncos, Wasa Royals, Düsseldorf Panthers, Prague Black Panthers, Utrecht Dominators, Paredes CFA Lumberjacks, Warsaw Eagles, Riga Lions, Reus Imperials, and more. While playing in Europe, he developed an interest in spreading the game of football and developing local talent across all leagues throughout the continent.
Travis joined Sports 1 Marketing in 2011 as an Account Executive before being promoted to Vice President of Business Development, where he worked alongside Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon. As Vice President, Travis was responsible for corporate partnerships, new business development, corporate sponsorships, product placement, and event planning for the company. He developed corporate partnerships with over 400 companies, ranging from start-ups to mid-tier and Fortune 500 companies. While at Sports 1 Marketing, he attended some of the nation’s top sporting events, including Super Bowl weekend in Indianapolis, Pro Bowl weekend in Hawaii, the Masters at Augusta, the MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City, and several others.
An entrepreneur at heart, Travis left Sports 1 Marketing in 2013 to found Premier Class Consulting. Citing a lack of support for newly formed sports teams and organizations, Travis has guided PCC to success by strengthening the productivity and foundation of its clients to create lasting success. His guidance has enabled PCC’s clients to monetize all aspects of their respective organizations, ensuring long-term viability through maximized profits.
Today Travis remains an advisor to the OSBLN, the Occidental College Athletic Department, and several business professionals across North America and Europe. He splits his time between California, New York, and Europe, strengthening existing partnerships and continually seeking new avenues to expand the reach of his clients. You can follow Travis on Twitter at (@travisbrody)
Shannon Grady is the Director of Marketing and the acting legal counsel for The Growth of a Game and Premier Class Consulting and is based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Santa Barbara, California, Shannon spent a year studying Merchandise Marketing and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, later finishing her Juris Doctor at Chapman University in Orange, California. Having passed the California Bar, Shannon is a licensed attorney and manages all contractual and formal legal necessities for The Growth of a Game. She is also our content manager and contributor who oversees a variety of marketing forums, including social media. Shannon was previously a formal cheerleader and has a passion for surfing, traveling, and teaching.
Rita Nisa is the Director of Account Management for The Growth of a Game and Premier Class Consulting. Originally from Barreiro, Portugal, she currently resides in Brussels, Belgium and has a strong background in retail management. Rita handles equipment order processing, inventory, camp questionnaires, online shop, and the registration table at our skills camps. She is passionate about traveling and is an avid reader of mystery novels.
D.J. Podgorny is the Director of Football Operations for The Growth of a Game and Premier Class Consulting and is based in Brussels, Belgium. A lifelong football enthusiast, he has experienced the game as a player in high school, a manager at the University of Illinois Division I program, a high school football coach in Monticello, Illinois and is the biggest Indianapolis Colts fan west of the Mississippi River. D.J. is also a huge fan of music and previously played bass in a Bay Area rock band. You can follow D.J. on Twitter at (@DJPodgorny).
Alexander Asmussen is a Danish editor from Copenhagen, Denmark. He was a former defensive end for the Copenhagen Tomahawks and is an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers. Alexander is a marketing professional for Millward Brown, a global-leading marketing research company. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Administration and Modern Languages, Business, Language & Culture and his Master’s Degree in Economics and Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School. His main passions are the NFL, marketing, and golf. You can reach him via his Twitter handle at (@AceAsmussen).
Amilcar Piedade is a Camp Consultant from Lisbon, Portugal. He it the head consultant for The Growth of a Game Lisbon Skills Camp. Amilcar co-founded the Lisboa Navigators in 2007, where he played linebacker and coached the team simultaneously. The Navigators won the first 6 Portuguese national championships from 2010-2015. Amilcar also served President of the Portuguese American Football Association for 3 years. He is currently a software engineer for public transport companies, having studied Computer Engineering at the University of Lisbon.
Ana Roios is a Portuguese editor from Lisbon, Portugal. Currently working in Brussels, Ana is a EU Public Affairs Consultant. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the Catholic University of Portugal and she is writing her Master’s thesis on the economic relations between the EU, the US, and the Gulf Countries. Though she has never played American football, she is a real soccer fan – her favorite team being Sport Lisboa e Benfica (SLB). Ana is also a book lover, so you can often find her reading about politics while sipping on a good cup of coffee. You can follow Ana on Twitter at (@AnaRoios).
Björn Hesse is a guest contributor from Berlin, Germany. Having been a Frankfurt Galaxy fan since childhood, he played linebacker for the Leipzig Lions in Germany’s third league (Regionalliga-Ost) from 2003 to 2008. He worked as a PR intern for the Galaxy during the 2006 season when the team won its fourth and final World Bowl title in Düsseldorf against the Amsterdam Admirals. Since 2014, Björn has worked for the Berlin Adler – the reigning Euro Bowl champions – in PR and Social Media Marketing. He currently writes about the Berlin Adler and the Indianapolis Colts for the German magazine HUDDLE and Football Aktuell. You can reach him via his Twitter handle at (@bjoernhesse).
Botond Szűcs is a Hungarian translator from Debrecen, Hungary. He is an exercise physiologist and an avid sport fan. Botond played safety and quarterback for the Debrecen Gladiators from 2007 to 2015, and became head coach for the Gladiators in 2013. In addition to serving as head coach for the senior team, Botond also coaches the Gladtiators’ junior team. He is passionate about the defensive side of football.
Bret Margieson is a guest contributor from Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. He began following football in his early childhood, when he became a fan of the Minnesota Vikings. Bret graduated Buckinghamshire New University, with First Class Honors in Business and Sports Management, led by his dissertation and in-depth study on the growth of the NFL and American Football within the UK. You can reach him via his Twitter handle at (@margieson13).
Christian Schimmel is a guest contributor based in Niederelbert, Germany. Christian first became a fan of American football while following NFL Europe in the early 2000s and has followed the NFL and college football regularly since 2009. He’s covered the sport since 2012 – mainly college football, the SEC, and the San Diego Chargers – and his work appears regularly in Huddle Magazine and Football Aktuell. In 2014 he and John Roman founded Der Draft, a website which focuses year-round on the NFL Draft.
Dan Bering is a guest contributor and Danish translator from Faxe, Denmark. He was part of the establishment of the national Danish Flag Football League from 2003 to 2004 and also played quarterback for the Running Rhinos during that time. He’s been an NFL fan since 1999, following the league every year as a writer and analyst on several Danish football magazines and websites. Dan also writes on his blog and can be followed on Twitter at (@huthutdk).
Daniel Solano is a Research Assistant for The Growth of a Game. Daniel assists in a variety of ways, such as translating articles into Spanish, compiling data, or everyday office necessities. Originally from Santa Marta, Colombia, Daniel moved to the United States at a very young age and thus has always been passionate about American football. He has participated in American football throughout his life by through flag football when he was a child and later on played for his high school tackle team. He is currently pursuing a double major in economics and political science with a minor in mathematics at Lake Forest College in Illinois. He also plays for his university’s American football team as an offensive lineman.
Darren Gleeson is a guest contributor from Limerick, Ireland. Darren is a graduate from the University of Limerick where he studies Media & Literature. A self-styled sporting philosopher, Darren converted to American football from rugby and is entering his 6th year playing with the University of Limerick Vikings. Darren is an offensive and defensive lineman, as well as fan of the Los Angeles Rams.
Dorin Pop is an Romanian editor from Cluj Napoca, Romania. He currently plays for the Cluj Crusaders, whom he joined in 2010 when American football in his country still was in its infancy. Initially he was a running back and a strong safety before finally settling in as a cornerback. Dorin won the national championship with the Crusaders in 2012 and 2013 and eventually became part of team management. He writes about American football on his blog and does a weekly podcast called Crusaders Radio with co-hosts Alex Bradea and Rafael Ruiz, head coach of the Cluj Crusaders. Dorin works in the IT industry and also plays in several music bands. You can follow Dorin on Twitter at (@Dorin24).
Enrico Brazzi is a Italian translator from Imola, Italy. In 2002, at the age of 16, he established the Imola Hawkies (now Imola Ravens) to bring American football back to his hometown. He was the starting quarterback for the Ravens from 2002 to 2014, meanwhile coaching their Junior teams from 2008 to 2012. After one season with the Bologna Warriors, he is now back with the Ravens.
Ilja Tersteeg is a camp consultant from Utrecht, Netherlands. Ilja it the head consultant for The Growth of a Game Utrecht Skills Camp and is the founder of the Utrecht Dominators, a Dutch American football club. Since its founding in 2004, the Dominators’ organization has seen steady growth. As part of the board, Ilja has helped to build the great reputation that the club holds with social, sports, and political organizations in Utrecht and throughout the Netherlands. Ilja worked closely with NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals, who used the Dominators’ practice facilities during the final years of the league. In addition to working as the site manager, he assisted multiple operational teams within the Admirals organization. This inside experience, combined with his background in sports journalism makes him familiar with all the ins-and-outs of the American football world. During his football career, Ilja played linebacker, tight end, and kicker and competed in the United States and Netherlands. He currently works as a global marketing and communications manager in the Netherlands.
Ivan Kosanovic is a Serbian translator from Pancevo, Serbia. A former quarterback for the Pancevo Panthers, Ivan is now the president of the team. He received his Bachelor’s in Transport and Traffic Engineering, and currently works as the Deputy Executive Director for Milsped, a major logistics compay based in Belgrade. Ivan is passionate about the NFL and also enjoys teaching young athletes, serving as coach of the Panthers’ first female flag team over the past several seasons.
Javier Ruiz is a Spanish translator based in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium. He is an avid sports fan and works as a translator for the official websites of soccer teams such as Paris Saint-Germain, PSV Eindhoven, Zenith Saint Petersburg, R.S.C. Anderlecht, and more. He also writes for the Spanish website and magazine FieldGoal, and works as an official in the Belgian Football League. You can follow Javier on Twitter at (@fjruizgarcia32).
Lauren Benson is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for The Growth of a Game and is based in Rome, Italy. Prior to her move overseas, she worked in the Strategy and Research group for Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE), the parent company of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals, WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and two AFL teams. At MSE, she worked closely with the corporate partnership group providing research and analysis for prospective, new, and existing clients. Before MSE, she worked with the MLB’s Washington Nationals in the Marketing Department. Lauren graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Economics and Management and from Georgetown University with a Master’s Degree in Sports Industry Management. At Cornell, she was the point guard of the women’s basketball team for four years.
Leon Häfner is a junior contributor and German editor who resides in Bayreuth, Germany. He began playing football for the Aschaffenburg Stallions at the age of 13 and currently plays wide receiver for the Hof Jokers. Leon is currently studying Business Administration at the University of Bayreuth. You can reach him via his Twitter handle at (@86haef).
Lorenz Plassmann is a French translator from Paris, France. He has been an NFL fan for years and is an avid follower of the Seattle Seahawks. He has a Ph.D in history from Paris-Sarbonne and is an author and ghostwriter. Lorenz published his first book in 2012 on international relations, which won a prize from the Moral & Political Science Academy (Institut de France) in 2014. He is also a black belt in judo and ju-jitsu, and played rugby for several years.
Mariana Gomes is a Portuguese translator from Vila Velha, Brazil. She first began playing football in 2012 with friends and in 2013 founded the Vila Velha Panteras, a women’s flag football team representing her hometown. It was during this time that she also served as a referee for both of the major national leagues in Brazil, Torneio Touchdown and the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol Americano (CBFA). While playing for and operating the Panteras, Mariana was invited to play for the Cariocas Futebol Americano, a women’s tackle football team from Rio de Janeiro. In 2014, while playing outside linebacker and special teams for the Cariocas, Mariana and her teammates won the first-ever female American football national championship in Brazil. In 2015 she moved to Ancona, Italy, where she participated in practices with the Lobsters Pescara while studying and learning Italian. She has since returned to Vila Velha, where she is currently enrolled in law school and serving as a player and coach for the Panteras. Mariana is extremely passionate about football and is a big supporter of her favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Mario Penic is a camp consultant from Split, Croatia. Mario it the head consultant for The Growth of a Game Split Skills Camp and has organized several camps in Croatia over the past few years. Mario began playing American football with the Split Sea Wolves in 2009 and ultimately became president of the organization before stepping down in 2015. He was elected vice president of the Croatian American Football Association in 2016 and seeks to build a strong foundation for American football in Croatia. Mario is a fan of contact sports such as judo and boxing and enjoys spending time with his wife and son.
Michael De Nolf is a French editor and an Account Executive from Brussels, Belgium. He began playing American football for the Brussels Bulls as a cadet in 2005 and quickly jumped to the junior and senior teams shortly after. As a junior, he won the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Belgian championships. He specifically developed as a defensive end, but played multiple positions on both offense and defense. After his junior tenure, Michael began coaching the Bulls junior team. He has worked as an NFL consultant for BeTv since 2013, broadcasting live NFL games throughout the season.
Mihai-Tudor Grigoras is a Romanian translator from Cluj Napoca, Romania. He joined the Cluj Crusaders in 2013, playing on the offensive and defensive lines and eventually became a member of the team management. Mihai is a businessman who has been developing projects for organic farming since 2004. Before turning to business, he earned his bachelor’s degree in contemporary history from UBB Cluj and a master’s degree in international relations from the Institut für Osteuropäische Geschichte Universität Wien. Mihai is a fan of the Seattle Seahawks and is also an avid snowboarder and hunter. You can “like” his Facebook page to follow his business pursuits.
Miroslav Hlebjan is a web developer from Novi Sad, Serbia. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Technical Science in Novi Sad. Miroslav is a soccer and basketball fan and is a longtime fan of both Manchester United and the Los Angeles Lakers. He also enjoys listening to D&B, electronic, and rock music, and spends his free time in creative design. He has been working in web development for over 10 years and especially enjoys focusing on WordPress platforms. You can find Miroslav on Linkedin here.
Nick Kleinhansl is a camp consultant from Telfs, Austria. Nick the head consultant for The Growth of a Game Tyrol Skills Camp which takes place every August. He serves as the Head Coach/Athletic Director of the Telfs Patriots and at age 22 he is currently the youngest head coach in Austria. As a player he prides himself on his versatility, which has allowed him to play almost every position on the field and therefore enables him to coach the game from various points of view. In 2013 he built the Telfs Patriots youth program, which has since sent 3 players to the Austrian U19 National Team and has won 3 Austrian Youth Championships. Currently he is finishing his Master’s Degree in Strategic Management at the University of Innsbruck.
Nikola Davidovic is a Serbian editor from Belgrade, Serbia. He is currently an offensive lineman and team president for the Belgrade Blue Dragons. Prior to becoming team president, he served as general secretary for the team. Nikola is one of the co-founders of Touchdown Europe, a website that covers American football in Europe. Nikola is passionate about American football and hopes to see the level of the sport continue to rise in Serbia.
Sebas Serrano is a graphic designer from Barcelona, Spain. He is currently the head coach of the Portuguese National Team and has previously coached the Osos Rivas and the Barbera Rookies of the Spanish first division, as well as the Spanish National Team. He is a former linebacker and competed in the United States, Spain, and Germany during his career. Sebas also co-owns Quintana Training, a sports company based in Barcelona that provides personal training services to players and teams. Sebas holds a Master’s Degree in Graphic Arts from Tracor Arts School in Madrid. His main passions are family, football, and the arts.
Tamás Sziklai is a Hungarian editor from Szeged, Hungary. He plays cornerback for the Budapest Cowbells and currently works for an environmental company. Tamas is also a regular contributor to IDthe22, a website that highlights and evaluates NFL players and prospects. He enjoys reading and traveling, and his favorite book is “Football Scouting Methods” by Steve Belichick. He hopes to one day coach American football in Hungary.
Twm Owen is a Welsh-based weekly newspaper journalist, blogger, sports nut, and American Football enthusiast. He played youth football with the Cardiff Mets and Tiger Bay Warriors in the Welsh capital and was a proud understudy to the starting quarterback, his older brother. You can follow Twm on Twitter (@NewsatTwm), on Facebook, or check out his blog here.
Valentina Ferrara is an Italian editor from Pavia, Italy. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Science and a Master’s degree in European Studies from the University of Bologna and she is one of the founders Rivista Europae, a website that covers the developments in the European Union. With this background she decided to move to Brussels, the heart of European Union, where now she is working as a communications assistant. She is passionate about traveling as well as learning about diverse things such as agriculture and vegetarian cuisine. Though Valentina has never played football, she is curious about how the sport has evolved and grown over the years. You can follow her on Twitter at (@valussy).
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