After a few unsuccessful attempts, Hungarian football started growing in the first half of ’00 decade, when a Hungarian sports TV started broadcasting the NFL. In 2004, a small group of football fans gathered round for the Super Bowl night, and decided to become more than just fans. In April, there it was – AFC Budapest Dirty Dogs, and the team changes its name to Budapest Wolves a month later.
Budapest Wolves are two-time CEFL silver medalists – 2007 and 2011, they are a five-time Hungarian league champion team, and had success in the Austrian league as well. Wolves ladies, the women’s tackle team of Budapest Wolves, won 2nd place in the Austrian Ladies league two times. Wolves juniors won the Hungarian Juniors Cup 3 times.
Wolves entered CEFL in the second year of the league. That first season was the most successful one, but, Wolves also say that it was the most heart breaking one as well:”We lost only once during the regular season to SBB Vukovi Beograd, and faced them in the finals again. Belgrade Vukovi came back from a 13 point deficit in just two minutes and got the trophy.”
The SBB Vukovi Belgrade (Wolves) were always a tough opponent for the Budapest Wolves, but the team hopes that the 2013 season will be the season where they will bounce back and get the momentum.
There were some changes on the coaching position where István Kovács got promoted to the HC position, and Buda Gábor is the new DC.
Csánad Király says that there were no big arrivals on the Wolves roster during the offseason: “There are some players who are not returning for 2013 but we can fill the spots with our best players from our second team and junior team.”
The Wolves organization has over 200 active players in 5 teams – Wolves I, Wolves II, Juniors (U19) and Wolves Ladies.
Budapest Wolves II team is entering the Hungarian Division 2 championship in spring, Budapest Wolves Juniors were the Hungarian Junior champions in 2012 and also participated in the Austrian League, while the Wolves Ladies are the only female football team in Hungary, so the Ladies have to travel to Austria to play. Wolves also have a rookies team – for those who are just learning the game of football.
Team tries to be involved in community work as much as possible. For 5 years now, they collect gifts and visit a local orphanage for Christmas. Around 20-30 players from the organization participate in this event year after year. Wolves also visit schools and prisons to talk about football and the way football changes lives.
“The Budapest Wolves Public Benefit Organization is lead by a board of five members and supported by lots of volunteers, fans and friends. All of us are students or full-time workers. As a Public Benefit Organization we try to focus on popularization of football, by organizing presentations, shows, open practices in schools, sport events. We believe American football is one of the best place for the guys to show good examples and teach about the really important values such as friendship, toughness, sacrifice, team cooperation.” says Csanad Kiraly.
“We have strong support from the US. Mr. Lee Hlavka has been our head coach for 8 years and helps us as an adviser today. Lee is a coaching legend in the US and in Europe, with 30 years of experience. We have import players Uche and Obi Mgbawu, Casey Sherwood WR from Shasta College or Kenyatta Robinson who comes from Houston Pirates.” – says the Budapest Wolves board, and continues: “We have no ‘real’ import players, we only have amateur players. We are not paying our domestic and American players. This is the way we are unique among teams in Central Europe. We have one player, Casey Sherwood (WR/RB) who has high school and collegiate experience in US and Canada. He moved to Budapest recently.”
Wolves like to say that they are unique because they try to stay competitive with “home-grown” Hungarian talents. They recruit their imports from foreigners who are already in Hungary for different reasons, which gives the organization a family atmosphere, where everyone is coming to practices because of their love for football. Everyone on the team is an “amateur football player”.