This past weekend (February 20-21st), Serbian Association of American Football hosted IFAF Europe level 3 coaching clinic in Belgrade. 40 Coaches from Serbia, Croatia and Romania participated. Speakers were coaches Philippe Gardent, Jim Criner and Malik Jackson.

 Coach Jim Criner thinks that Serbia is the future of American football in Eastern Europe: “After my retirement, I figured the best way to help the sport is to help coaches improve. Good coaches make players better, and with that being said – it makes the sport better. Bottom line is that it’s crucial to educate the coaches. 

The reason I see Serbia as the future of American football in this part of Europe is because of 2 things. First and foremost – the coaches. I had the chance to see this weekend their dedication and their will to advance. Secondly, talent. I had the opportunity to see the Serbian national team in France, and although these guys are strong and physically ready – they didn’t rely only on that. I’d like to come back for a longer period to get to know the sport and players in Serbia better.”

Besides the participating coaches, referees also joined the clinic. Coaches Gardent, Criner and Jackson gave a lecture on “Coach – official communication and team work”.

Coach Jim Crimer has 44 years of coaching experience. He was the HC of Boise and Iowa State University (Big 8). In Europe, he was coaching Scottish Claymores (NFL Europe), with whom he won the World Bowl. He also coached in France.

Coach Philippe Gardent played football in France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Great Britain, Scotland, Holland, Germany, Canada and USA. He spent 5 years in NFL Europe. He also played in the NFL for Washington Redskins (2006) and Carolina Panthers (2007).

Coach Malik Jackson is the current HC for the Bern Grizzlies (Switzerland). Last year, he was the HC/DC for Carlstad Crusaders, where he won the IFAF Europe Champions League. He spent 12 years coaching a San Francisco University team, where he won 4 national championships.