Although football made its first appearance in Poland as early as 1999, the sport did not plant roots in the country until the Polish American Football Association (PZFA) was created in November 2004. Its founding, by the Warsaw Eagles and KFA Wielkopolska, was a response to the rapid growth football had experienced in Poland in the preceding years.
The first official game played in Poland took place in March 2006, when the Eagles defeated a Czech team, the Pardubice Stallions, to open an international tournament held in the capital. The tournament was an organizational and promotional success, and spurred the formation of teams in other parts of the country. That November, the first and very short season of football began in Poland.
Four teams, Warsaw, KFA, the Pomorze Seahawks and the Wrocław Crew took part in that opening season, with the Eagles emerging as champions. The Polish League of American Football (PLFA) was immediately successful. One game in Wrocław drew more than 3,000 fans, and pieces on the league appeared in over 100 publications and on more than a dozen television programs. The PLFA has been the main engine of growth for football in Poland since that time.
Following that first mini-season, the PLFA has expanded to three leagues, including a top-level 'Topliga' with teams playing in some of the nation's best stadiums (including the new National Stadium in Warsaw, the site of PLFA SuperFinal VII in 2012!) and on national television. With professional commentary, cheerleaders, concession stands, fan competitions and, most importantly, growing crowds, a PLFA spectator could be forgiven for not realizing he is in Poland. The truth tells otherwise. Football in the country is progressing by leaps and bounds, and it is an attraction the whole family can truly enjoy.
Newcomers to PLFA are usually surprised to learn that it is a very serious, organized league. The league uses the NCAA rulebook with a one-year delay in adopting rule changes. Clinics for coaches, referees and players are held throughout the season. Despite having a large number of enthusiastic players, the league still suffers from a shortage of support staff and officials. Hopefully these are just the growing pains of a league that is clearly on an upward developmental path.
Federation: Stowarzyszenie Polski Zwiazek Futbulu Amerykanskiego (PZFA)
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Photo: Marcin Fijalkowski
Download the 2012 PLFA Media Guide here
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