Norger American football player “on the test” in London for the NFL

Silvan Barelds (wit) in actie voor Düsseldorf Panthers (Rechten: Birgit Häfner)

Anyone who sees Barreldes walking can hardly deny that he has the build of an American football player. The height came, the muscles that grew in the gym. However, he started – years ago – as a footballer in the Jomos Football Club of Norges.

Giants Groningen

Football began to bear him as a student in Groningen. Bareland’s has reason to look for a new sport. Through a few turns, he came across American football. “That’s how I started at Groningen Giants a few years ago.”

A student of nutrition and dietetics quickly caught the attention of giants. “I was looking for a challenge and immediately found it very interesting,” he says. “And I obviously have a knack for that, too.”

declaring madness

It was no secret that he possessed a talent for American football. His speed and power made Barelands shine quickly on the Dutch courts. Düsseldorf explored the born Nürger. “They told me in Germany that if I did a good job, I would be offered an apartment and a car,” he says. “I actually didn’t believe it, but it turned out to be true in the end.”

Barreldes were allowed to stay and thus obtained shelter and transportation from the leopards. “For example, I can study in Groningen from Monday to Wednesday, train in Germany for the rest of the week. Then I drive up and down for three hours. Sometimes my colleagues think I’m crazy.”

in the spotlight

Crazy or not, Barelds has successfully positioned himself in the spotlight in the top NFL in the world. Nearly fifty athletes from fourteen different countries participate in a type of selection competition at the “International Combine” in London. For the weekend, talents from all over Europe are tested on their speed, skills, and other aspects of the game.

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“I am the only Dutchman who has been invited,” Barelds informs. “The NFL is mainly made up of players from the United States, but they are also looking for talent in Europe. If you do well during the combine, you can train for ten weeks in Florida in February. Then you take a bigger step towards the NFL.”


The Barelds don’t make any bones about it: Everyone who can play in the NFL is out there. “There are more players in America who have walked the same path. They are there, yes.”

It’s far from that for Drent, who knows it all too well himself. But it will be soon. “This is my first season in Germany. I’m still non-veteran. In addition, this year I play in a different position than Groningen. But it’s definitely going well, especially thanks to a lot of good training.”

under attention

Recently, Barelds was in Dusseldorf non-stop to get ready for the weekend in London. He says his teammates are standing right behind him. “They think it’s really cool. We have a great group.”

He believes, however, that more American football lives in Germany than in Holland. “We have four teams in Dusseldorf alone. It’s a lot less in the Netherlands. I would like the sport to get more attention there. Maybe I can take care of that.”

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