Spartans Practice with Four-Time Defending Champions of Spanish League
Culminating a long day of seeing numerous sites in Barcelona outside of Bari Gattic the University of Dubuque Spartans held a late evening practice with the L’Hospitelat Pioners just outside of Barcelona. The Pioners have won the championship of the highest league of American football in Spain the past four years. Last year they also played in the European Series B tournament earning their way to the championship game of the continent wide tournament.
“This was great for our players,” stated Teo Polanco the highly successful coach of the Pioners who hails from New York and is in his eighth year reviving and leading the program. “To see the speed at which Dubuque executes and their service to our program was a big bonus as we prepare for our playoff game on Saturday.” The Pioners have a semi-final contest and are in hopes of earning their 5th consecutive championship.
Both teams shared in position drills with the Dubuque coaches and players often adding in some instructional tips regarding techniques. One-on-one drills in line and skill play at all positions lead to further development. Dubuque players reveled in the opportunity to dig their cleats in on foreign soil and demonstrate their abilities at the game they love.
After seven-on-seven where both sides ran their schemes, both football clubs gathered to run some O and D against each other. For a good portion, the Dubuque Spartans ran some play cards of Barcelona’s upcoming opponent and with an efficiency that will help the Pioners in their contest on Saturday.
In a generous act, Coach Zweifel and the Pioners donated fourteen sets of shoulder pads and helmets as well as footballs to the Pioners program for new incoming players and future development. “The University of Dubuque wants to make a positive impact on the development of American football here is Spain. Along with American Football Worldwide we want to offer something that lasts. Our players loved this experience and I believe we made an impression and a donation that will serve well into the future,” stated Coach Zweifel.
Earlier in the day, the Spartans football program spent a good part of the day touring. Stops along the journey included time at Port Veil the original harbor at the end of Las Ramblas and extensive time on Montjuic, a hilltop to the southwest of city centre that offers magnificent views and housed the sporting venues from the 1992 Summer Olympics. The players also visited the FCB football club and their 100,000+-seat stadium. The day included touring of Gaudi’s unique and beautiful Parc Guell amongst other treasures of Barcelona.