Last month, it was one year since Los Corsarios American football team took its first steps in this sport. This amateur team is the only one in Malaga city, and the players have been training hard all year in the hope that next season they will be able to compete as a club.
If that dream comes true they, like Los Potros club in Fuengirola, will make Malaga and Seville the only provinces in Andalucía with two teams competing in the Andalusian League.
It is an ambitious dream and, of course, a very expensive one. For that reason Los Corsarios, led by coordinator Rafael Márquez, have decided to start a crowdfunding scheme to finance their new adventure. This is an online method of financing in which anyone who is interested in a project can provide some money towards it. One of the most famous web platforms for crowdfunding for sporting causes is ‘Apontoque’.
Los Corsarios hope to raise at least 10,000 euros to cover the costs of competing in the league. In fact, that sum wouldn’t cover all the costs, but it would give the team the push it needs to start making its dream come true. The costs include 1,500 euros to sign up for the league, and around 3,600 euros to federate all the players, at 200 euros each. In addition, there are the costs of travel, referees, equipment, helmets and protection which are necessary for this sport (these are paid for by each player), and the cost of renewing training materials and renting the pitch, which is about 400 euros.
At present there are 32 players in the team, most of them aged around 23 or 24. All but one are inexperienced - the exception is a player who competed in the Spanish First Division with the Los Osos team from Madrid. “They are all beginners, but they are learning bit by bit and they are very keen to learn and to play. Some were already fans of the sport, so they knew the rules, and that makes it easier,” says Rafael Márquez. There are another five people on the technical side of the team, but Rafael is the most experienced and he founded the club.
A computer engineer by profession, he has spent his life working for a major company all over the world, including the USA and Slovakia. He spent less than a year in America, but was instantly attracted by this sport. This is not surprising, as it is hugely popular there. However, it was his ten years in Slovakia that he really learned it.
“I became an assistant for a league team and also for the Slovakian national team,” he says. “I also went to other European countries like the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, and I saw how popular American football was becoming.”
However, in 2014 his work brought him back to Spain, firstly to Barcelona, where he was the coordinator for the Barbera Rookies in a year in which the team rose again to the Spanish First Division, as high as it could go.
Months later, he returned to Malaga and his passion for this sport led him firstly to head the junior team of Los Potros club in Fuengirola and then to start setting up Los Corsarios, of which he is the founder. Currently it is the only American football club in Malaga city, but he wants to take it a step further and start competing seriously.
The players train every Monday and Thursday at the José Gallardo pitch in Portada Alta, and are already becoming excited about the thought of turning their hobby into something much more important.