Vila Velha's (Brazil) Levy Adds Conquistador Bowl To Growing List Of Accomplishments.
By Clayton Lovett
From Louisiana, to Texas, to Ireland, from Norway to Poland to Brazil, journeyman Coach, Daniel Levy, has found success wherever the world of American football has taken him. In an August 24th ceremony prior to Levy's Vila Velha Tritões' victory over Rio de Janeiro's Botafogo Reptiles in Brasil's Tourneio Touchdown Tournament, Levy confirmed his next stop – The Conquistador Bowl, in Cancun, Mexico.
While Levy's coaching career is full of notable moments, an invite to the Conquistador Bowl marks a high point. The Conquistador Bowl, which will be held on January 31, 2015, is week-long event that will showcase draft-eligible players from the United States in 1AA (FCS) and lower divisions, Canada, Japan and Mexico, as they participate in a series of professionally run practices, which will conclude in the Conquistador Bowl game. The selected athletes will have the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate their skills before the watchful eyes of professional team scouts and personnel from all major football leagues, including NFL, CFL and AFL.
"It's a little surreal," said Levy of the invite. "To have the opportunity to be in meetings and practices with former NFL players and coaches, including a handful of Super Bowl champions; the opportunity to coach bonafide draft prospects and the best international talent from 4 different continents. I'm humbled and honored," he said.
"Coach Levy is a well respected coach on the international level and will be a perfect complement to the game," said Conquistador Bowl founder and Director of Football Operations, Mark Daniel. "He also will bring a sense of comfort to Gerson during the week," added Daniel, referring to Sao Jose Istepos linebacker, Gerson Santos, the only Brasilian player selected for the game.
Between now and the time coaches report to Conquistador Bowl camp, Levy is working to add one more piece to his resume- a Torneio Touchdown Tournament national championship. Since arriving in the seaside town of Vila Velha, Espirito Santo, Brazil, Levy has been making waves. His first big splash was to make his team, the Tritoes, the first team in Brasilian team in history to sign a former NFL player, by contracting Levy's former high school teammate and former Buffalo Bill, Nic Harris. He also brought Pro Bowl center, Alex Mack, to town to work with his offensive line, and recently signed running back, Charles McCrea.
Of all of Levy's moves this season in Vila Velha, perhaps the biggest ones have been those that he has made with his players. Out of 22 Vila Velha starters, 10 of them are playing a new position in their first season under Levy. The most notable switch, by far, has led to what many consider to be Brasil's breakout superstar of 2014, TE/WR-turned-QB, Alvaro Siquera.
Siquera, a former TE and WR, was more than a little hesitant to make the switch to QB at first. "I mean, he really didn't want to do it," said Levy. "But he has brought it every day in practice, as well as in individual training sessions," he added. Levy's training methods with his new QB range from traditional, to what could be described as Mr. Miyagi-esque, as Levy regularly meets with Siquera in the ocean to run him through a battery of drills and excercises.
Since committing to the position (and Levy's ocean-training) in February, Siquera can only be described as sensational. In 4 games at his new position, the unanimously-voted team captain has accounted for 13 TDs, with 720 yards passing, while adding another 234 on the ground. He has also been clutch, leading a game winning drive (set up by an interception by receiver-come-CB, Victor Miranda, another one of Levy's Position Change All Stars) with under two minutes to play against Division rival, Botafogo. A win that, for now, puts Vila Velha in the drivers seat for a division title.
In what is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year in Brazilian American Football, Levy and the Tritoes, currently ranked 3rd in the Torneio Touchdown Power Rankings, travel to Timbo, Santa Catarina, this Saturday, to take on the number 2 Timbo Rex, and while Levy has never stayed in one place for very long, for now, at least, he seems happy building a juggernaut in a country that is quickly becoming American Football-crazed.
"It's ubelievable. It's kind of a force of nature unto itself. The speed at which it is growing in concert with what I can only describe as 'viral' interest among fans and players alike, all of this makes for a very bright future for American football in Brazil. And I am happy to be a part of that."
About the author:
Clayton Lovett serves as the defensive coordinator for the Selecao Brasileiro (Brazilian National Team) and was the head coach of the 2012 Brasilian National Champions, the Cuiabá Arsenal. Football is his hobby, professionally he is the founder of CS Educacional, an educational consulting group that has assisted students pursuing their educational, athletic, and artistic goals in the U.S. and Canada.
This article was first published on www.EuroPlayers.com on September 17, 2014