As reported by Linfield Sports, two seniors off of the ‘Cats 2010 roster will continue their football careers overseas playing for the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns (UNICORNS!!!!) in German Football League.
2nd Team All-American quarterback Aaron Boehme and All-West Region Defensive Tackle Paul Nishizaki will be teamed up once again as they will take on the best in Germany over a 15 game schedule vs the other 14 teams in the GFL. Both Nishizaki and Boehme will be headed out in March to get settled in before the start of the 2011 GFL season.
How did all of this start? “(Unicorn) Coach Gehrke contacted (Linfield D.C.) Coach Vaughan about me. I contacted him and it was pretty easy from there. I always wanted to travel after college so this was the perfect opportunity for me.” Wrote Nish to Catdomealumni.com. As for Boehme: “They contacted me sometime in December, I had been previously contacted by a team in France, but I didn't see myself fitting there. Then Schwabisch Hall called and I entertained the idea for a while before finally verbally committing a few weeks ago.”
Both Nish and Boehme are ready to face off versus a stiff level of competition, as the GFL is considered one of, if not, the best Europe football league on the continent along with the European Football League. It should be a great measuring stick as Nishizaki will battle against offensive lines with tremendous size but as Nish stated “Coming from Linfield we have played some good offensive lines, Western, Whitewater, Hardin-Simmons, St. Thomas, etc. I am just excited to see how I will stack up.” I think we have little doubt that both Nish and Boehme are going to be just fine and should excel on the field.
One question that popped in my mind immediately is the perceived language barrier, especially for an American Quarterback. As Boehme explained it will not be as large of a hurdle as one might think “My coach told me that about maybe 60% of the German players speak very good English, about 30% speak decent English and maybe 10% have a hard time. So for the most part it won't be too great of a challenge to communicate, and almost all of the terminology for the offense is in English. I will also hopefully learn a few things of German before I leave to make things easier!”
Probably the most appealing aspect of playing in the GFL for both our Wildcats is the opportunities to not only get to continue to play ball but the chance to see and live in another part of the world. “We have a break in September so hopefully Boehme and I can travel around for a bit. I am committed to playing football for the Schwaebisch Hall Unicorns and if we have time to travel around our busy football schedule then I will take advantage of it.” Boehme echoed that thought “Because the team is somewhat of a semi-pro team for those players from Germany, I will have a lot of time to see some sights! There are two practices a week and games on Saturdays as all of the players have jobs during the rest of the week, for instance, my coach is a teacher. So Nish and I will be hopefully traveling to different countries and seeing much of the very different European culture!” Not a bad deal at all.
Other ‘Cats Continue the Quest
While Boehme and Nish have their tickets punched for their next football seasons that doesn’t mean they are the only ‘Cats looking to land on a professional roster this upcoming year.
-1st Team All-NWC Wide Receiver Chris Slezak has been in contact with Arena Teams in Washington and Colorado and hopes to play after graduation this spring.
-2nd Team All-American Offensive Tackle, Aaron Heston, will be working out at the Portland State Pro Day on March 9th in hopes to catch a NFL/CFL scouts eye.
-1st team All-NWC running back, Simon Lamson, is currently in contact with various European teams in hopes to landing on a roster for this summer.
-1st team All-American Defensive End Eric Hedin is also trying to land in a NFL camp this summer.