Amsterdam Crusaders

Amsterdam Crusaders
Year founded: 1984
Amsterdam Crusaders helmet
City Amsterdam, Netherlands
Other nicknames Crusaders, Cru
Team colors Red, White, and Black
Head Coach Seniors Marcus Muler
Head Coach Youth Robert von Gerhardt
Head Coach Flag Robert von Gerhardt
Chairman John Mahnen
League/Conference affiliations

AFBN (2001–present)

  • AFBN Division One (2001–present)

NAFF (1984–2000)

  • NAFF Division One (1984–2000)

Team history
  • Amsterdam Crusaders (1984–present)
Tulip Bowl National Championships (16)

1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010

Tulip Bowl Runners-up (5)

1985, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2007

Div.2 Championships (1)


Div.2 Runners-up(0)
AFLN National Championships (0)
AFLN Runners-up (0)
Benelux Championships (0)
Benelux Runners-up(0)
Eurobowl Championships (2)

1991, 1992

Eurobowl Runners-up(0)

1988, 1989, 1993

EFAF Cup Championships (0)
EFAF Cup Runners-up(0)
Home field
  • Sportpark Sloten (1984–present)

The Amsterdam Crusaders are an American Football club from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Together with the Rotterdam Trojans and Alphen Eagles, Amsterdam Crusaders are the oldest surviving Dutch American Football club.



The Crusaders were founded on 6 September 1984, when several players of the former Amsterdam Rams decided it was time to have another team in Amsterdam. In the years that followed they grew into a team capable of playing at both national and international levels.

The 1980s saw frequent battles with fierce rivals Amsterdam Rams, The Hague Raiders and Utrecht Vikings for places in the Tulip Bowl and Eurobowl.

Eurobowls, FLE and NFLE

The Crusaders joined the European elite by reaching the Eurobowl final in 1988, with upset wins over the London Ravens and Berlin Adlers in the quarter and semi finals, only to lose against the Helsinki Roosters (35-14), who ran a power wishbone attack with Mike Kane, former All-American running back at CSUN. He Scored 4 TDs' and was elected the games MVP, In 1989 Amsterdam again reached the final, unfortunately losing a thriller 27-23 to the Legnano Frogs (Italy). In 1990, the "third Crusade" ended in Manchester (UK) when the Manchester Spartans defended three drives from the Crusaders in the 4th quarter to progress on their way to a European title.

Finally, the Crusaders managed to claim the big prize. In 1991 the Amsterdam Crusaders won Eurobowl V with a 21-20 win over Berlin Adler in Offenbach, with safety Najib Nakad blocking a Berlin PAT to secure a hard-fought win. Later that year the Amsterdam Crusaders played a regular season game against San Francisco State University. A year later, Eurobowl VI was added to the "Cru" trophy cabinet with a 42-21 win over Torino Giaguari(Italy) at Upsala, Sweden. Incredibly, 1993 saw the Crusaders reach their 5th Eurobowl final in six years, this time in the illustrious setting of the Heysel Stadium, Brussels. In a fantastic game, the London Olympians proved too strong for the Crusaders.

1994 saw the Amsterdam Crusaders leave the Dutch competition to join the Football League of Europe. Regular games against Finnish, English, German, Italian and Swedish teams made for a fascinating competition. However, this league lasted only two seasons before folding due to large costs.

The "Cru" returned to Dutch competition in 1996 and set about building up the club to include flag football, youth and senior teams.

During the lifetime of the NFL Europe, the Amsterdam Crusaders provided the Amsterdam Admirals with the bulk of national players coming out of the Netherlands. Current coaches Marcus Muler and Robert von Gerhardt were employed by the Amsterdam Admirals as national coaches, and defensive backs coach Reyhan Agaoglu and defensive line coach Arnold Galesloot are former Admirals players. Amsterdam Crusader coaches have often been involved in the coaching staff of the Dutch Lions - the Netherlands' national team.

The Amsterdam Crusaders are the only Dutch team that have produced an NFL player. Romeo Bandison played for the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins of the NFL and coached at Boise State University before taking his current role at Colorado University.

Recent History

In recent years Amsterdam Crusaders have dominated the American Football Bond Nederland competition, having won 8 of the last 9 national titles. In 2006 they posted their first undefeated season in many years, but were made to fight for the ultimate crown by the Delft Dragons, who were only defeated in overtime - the only time this has occurred in the Tulip Bowl's history. In 2010 the Cru posted a second consecutive perfect record on their way to their 16th National title.

Remarkably, the Amsterdam Crusaders have failed to reach the Tulip Bowl only four times (1986, 1992, 2001 and 2011) in the 25 seasons they have competed in the Dutch domestic league (did not compete in 1994 and 1995 due to participation in Football League of Europe).

In 2006 Amsterdam returned to European competition by entering the EFAF Cup. The Crusaders were given a tough draw and lost their group games 23-0 to 2005 finalists Templiers d'Elancourt and 38-14 to eventual semi-finalists Zurich Renegades.

In 2007 the Crusaders were handed a tough EFAF Cup draw, with an away trip to Oslo Vikings followed by a home matchup vs the German Football League's Berlin Adler. Amsterdam provided a surprise result in the opening game, defeating the Vikings 27-21 only two weeks after Oslo had defeated Berlin in Germany, but a 34-6 to the Adler in Amsterdam meant they failed to reach the semi-final.

On October 28, 2007, Amsterdam Crusaders failed to make it 6 Dutch championships in a row, losing 25-16 to Maastricht Wildcats in the national championship game, Tulip Bowl XXIII.

The 2008 season saw another national championship. On July 13, 2008 the Cru won the Tulip Bowl for the 14th time in their history after a 7-3 regular season, ensuring they enter their 25th year of existence as Dutch Champion. Amsterdam avenged Tulip Bowl XXIII by defeating Maastricht Wildcats 20-8 with touchdown passes from Claudio Bartolozzi to Wide Receiver Renze Burgers and Tight End Marcus Muler, and an interception return for a touchdown by Stef Hupsel.

The 2008 EFAF Cup saw the Crusaders perform admirably with some impressive defensive performances in a 26-12 loss to Berlin Adler of the German Football League in Berlin. Amsterdam hosted Danish champions Triangle Razorbacks on April 20, 2008 but slipped to a disappointing 3-0 loss to end their Euro season for 2008.

For the Amsterdam Crusaders, 2009 was a special year as they celebrated their 25th anniversary. They completed their regular season schedule with a perfect 10-0 record scoring 320 points in the process and conceding only 33, including 7 shut-outs. The Cru destroyed old foes Rotterdam Trojans 60-3 on June 21 in the AFBN playoffs and on July 12 dismissed Lightning Leiden 36-7 to win their 15th Tulip Bowl.

Amsterdam's EFAF Cup campaign also saw success. On April 18 the Crusaders pulled off a remarkable come-from-behind victory in England against the Farnham Knights of Great Britain as QB Claudio Bartolozzi and WR Revilinho Graanoogst connected for a 7-yard score as time expired. On May 2, 2009, the Cru sealed their first ever EFAF Cup semi-final spot by defeating the highly-rated Oslo Vikings in Amsterdam by a score of 10-6. On Sunday June 7, the Crusaders were unable to reach the final, losing 21-3 in the Czech Republic to Czech champions and eventual EFAF Cup 2009 champions Prague Panthers. However, it was a very admirable cup run considering the budget and there were high hopes for the future. The Amsterdam Crusaders finished the 2009 season in 18th place in the European Top 20 as ranked by EFAF.

The Cru's 25th regular season began in March 2010. Amsterdam sealed their second undefeated regular season in a row with a come-from-behind win against Lelystad Commanders on June 13, 2010. Amsterdam reached their 9th consecutive Tulip Bowl with a 43-16 win over Alphen Eagles in the playoff game on June 20, 2010. The Crusaders achieved a first in the Netherlands - a second consecutive undefeated championship season by defeating Maastricht Wildcats 28-22 on July 4 in their record 9th consecutive Tulip Bowl appearance.

Amsterdam's EFAF Cup season ended prematurely after a defeat in a visit to Les Cougars de St-Ouen l'Aumone (France) and a 35-7 home reverse versus British champions London Blitz.

Including post-season games, the Crusaders' winning streak managed a 27-game winning stream in the American Football Bond Nederland competition stretching from the end of the 2008 season until the end of the 2010 season.

2011 season

Amsterdam's 2011 regular season began with a home match-up against Alphen Eagles on 6th March 2011.

The Crusaders were beaten for the first time in 28 domestic competitive games, losing 12-7 after narrowly failing to complete a 99-yard TD drive inside the two-minute warning. The Cru bounced back with wins against Lelystad Commanders (34-32), Maastricht Wildcats (16-13), Amsterdam Panthers (34-0), Lightning Leiden (45-0) and the return against Lelystad Commanders (50-22) to extend their record to 5-1 for the season. Further losses (40-22 to Alphen Eagles and 27-14 at Maastricht Wildcats) dropped Amsterdam's record to 5-3. Amsterdam closed out the regular season with a 7-3 record after wins against Amsterdam Panthers (29-16) and Lightning Leiden (45-0).

On June 3rd 2011, the Cru were denied a place in the Tulip Bowl by Maastricht Wildcats, losing 29-12 in the national semi-final game in Maastricht.

Amsterdam's 2011 EFAF Cup group stage started with a record defeat, losing 68-6 to Great Britain National Champions London Blitz on April 9th in Finsbury Park, London. On May 14th, the Cru defeated Spain's Valencia Firebats 27-19 in Amsterdam.

Notable former players

United States Glenn Dennison (TE, 1989): Played for New York Jets of NFL before joining Amsterdam.
United States Paul Troth (QB): Head Coach of Missouri Valley College since 2002.
Netherlands Romeo Bandison (DT): Played for University of Oregon, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins and Amsterdam Admirals. Coached at Boise State University. Currently DL coach at Colorado University.
Netherlands Jimmy Geduld: Dutch Soap actor.
Netherlands Hubert Bedford (LB): Dutch sports presenter.
Netherlands Ronald Buys (RB): Became General Manager of Amsterdam Admirals between 1999 and 2005.
Netherlands Arnold Galesloot (LB): Played as TE for the Amsterdam Admirals and was the only Dutch player to score a touchdown for the Admirals on Dutch soil. Currently Defensive Line coach at the Crusaders
Netherlands Niels Meijer (WR): Played for Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe.
Netherlands Akwasi Mensah (LB): Played for Amsterdam Admirals in 2006 and 2007.
Netherlands Amilcar Grot (DB): Played for Amsterdam Admirals in 2005.

See also

External links

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