SHAPE football preview capsule
Head coach: Randy Potter
Last year: 1-4, lost 66-13 to Ansbach in D-II quarterfinals
Key games: Oct. 6 vs. Bitburg, Oct. 13 at AFNORTH, Oct. 13 vs. International School of Brussels
The 2012 SHAPE Spartans are bucking the trend most DODDS-Europe coaches are battling, according to head coach Potter.
“Last year we had a roster in the low 30s,” Potter, who’s in his first season as the official head coach, said by telephone on Tuesday. “Right now, we have 50 out.”
Those numbers came from a source no other school can match – SHAPE’s vast international community.
“We have players from 10 different nations,” Potter said. “A lot of them are natural athletes, and all want to learn American football.”
Although the international novices present a teaching challenge – some of which falls on returnees running back-quarterback Connor Manning and linemen Clay Coon and Taylor Ator – Potter said the payoff is more than worth the effort.
“They bring life to the team,” he said. “They really listen.”
SHAPE’s multinationals will get plenty of time to bond early this season. The Spartans open the season Sept. 15 after a multihour bus ride to Vicenza and re-board the bus two weeks later for the conference opener at Schweinfurt.
Sept. 15: at Vicenza-x (no JV)
Sept. 22: Hohenfels-x
Sept. 29: at Schweinfurt (no JV)
Oct. 6: Bitburg
Oct. 13: at AFNORTH
Oct. 20: International School of Brussels