Helvetic Guards will be the league’s new start-up

Munich – The current ELF season is already underway and is already bigger than the last one. Four new teams are participating, and in 2023 three more newcomers will join. One of them is Helvetic Guards. The Swiss franchise is basically a start-up company and faces the challenge of setting up a team in a year.

The general manager is Toni Zöller, who was previously CEO of the German state league club Konstanz Pirates. From there, he also takes head coach Matt Hammer to the guards, who will serve as sports director at JC Williams. As Zöllner explained in an interview with “grheute”, the pirates were only the personal connection in the group. Helvetic Guards will be a separate project. Another co-founder is Mukadder Erdönmez, who also knows Zöller from the pirates. The latter also wants to create a “lifestyle product” for the fans from the big project.

Erdönmez: “Fans should experience a holiday like in America”

He told “NZZ” that the game at the stadium was obviously important and that he was concerned with the sporting aspect, but everything around it was also important. He wants fans to be able to “take a day off in America” ​​when they get to the stadium. But there is still a long way to go.

But the first steps have already been taken. The name and team logo are written. Both are meant to commemorate the Papal Swiss Guard. “Historically, the Swiss guards have proven time and time again that supposedly smaller troops can succeed through commitment, will and discipline,” the guards describe their motto on their own website.

Helvetic Guards should represent the whole of Switzerland

The Swiss flag is also incorporated into the logo. “We could have called ourselves Zurich zebras. But we want to represent the whole of Switzerland and embody values ​​such as loyalty and discipline. As new from a small country, we also see ourselves as an underdog who rebels against powerful opponents,” Erdönmez explained the choice of the logo.

Although the team is probably looking for a stadium near Zurich, Zöller can also imagine that home games in other Swiss cities are later conceivable. But fans of the Swiss football champions FC Zürich need not worry – Letzigrund is not up for debate.

Team planning starts from scratch

In addition to the question of the stadium, the question of the squad is at the top of Helvetic Guard’s agenda. So far, they have not picked up a single player. With Athletic Directors Williams and Hammer, however, there are two college-experienced forces in their own ranks. According to the club’s website, there will be tryouts in October and the team should be ready in February.

It is also possible to buy players or sign players, but the franchise is primarily dependent on Swiss home-bred talents. According to ELF rules, 40 of the 50 players must come from Switzerland or have been trained there. The guards are likely to be particularly interested in Tim Hänni. The defensive tackle only changed this season from the Bern Grizzlies to the Hamburg Sea Devils in the ELF.

Guards will soon be offering a bigger stage, especially for players from the Swiss National League A. When the news of the formation of a Swiss ELF team came to light, this news is said to have created excitement and dissatisfaction at the same time. However, Mathias Brändli, a Calanda Broncos official, sees more of an opportunity than a threat in the guards and hopes that the ELF will also be able to market the sport in Switzerland to its advantage. In addition, an externally positive image of the guards could also be transferred to other Swiss clubs.

Head coach Geoff Buffum has also become more complex with the guards’ reorganization. “Of course we are aware that this team will exist and can also affect us, but it all starts only in 2023 and will not affect our current championship,” he told “grheute”. However, Helvetic-GM Zöller also explained that they want to convince Swiss players from National League A as well as GLF and ELF about their program.

Helvetic Guards in ELF from 2023

In the semi-professional ELF, this can get expensive. As Zöller announced in the interview, there is no patron or sole sponsor behind the guards. But talks have already taken place with sponsors. According to “nzz”, the guards also negotiate TV rights with a sports marketer. Additional revenue streams should come from merchandising and ticket sales – as soon as everything is in place.

Although the structure of Helvetic Guards is still in its infancy, it is gaining momentum. Next season, they will compete with the other two newcomers Milano Seamen and Hungarian Enthroners.

A fourth new signing for ELF follows.

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