Grigorakos Headed To Switzerland
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
After finishing his Southern career with a 65-tackle senior season, outside linebacker Vasilios Grigorakos is headed to play football for the Bern Grizzlies of Nationalliga A, a six-team Swiss American football league.
“It’s a great opportunity for him to continue playing and to see a beautiful country,” head coach Tom Godek said. “We’re extremely happy for him and his family.”
Grigorakos, who has a Greek background, was one of the three players the Grizzlies were able to add at this point in the regular-season. Godek compared it to a late-season promotion in Major League Baseball. Grigorakos is set to arrive in Switzerland May 21 and will be eligible to play for the Grizzlies right away.
“There’s nothing to lose,” he said. “I’ll go for two months and enjoy it. I just gotta perform and make good plays. I may never get this opportunity again so I said let me do my best and help this team win.”
Grigorakos tried for an opportunity in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League and said both are still on his mind. He competed, along with teammate Ray Catapano, in an All-Star Game in Myrtle Beach, S.C in the fall that featured players from the United States and Europe.
“It’s harder for a Division II player [to get noticed],” he said. “We gotta go the extra step. It could take one good play to get your foot in the door.”
He said the team will film every game and practice for scouts and coaches to see, just like what happened during his time with the Owls, where he said they even filmed their stretching routines.
Offensive Coordinator Chris Bergeski, who spent a year in France during his playing days, said they will be looking for him to “make a big push.”
“Vasili did a great job getting his name out there. There’s social media and there’s also databases for Americans to find international teams,” he said. “He’s the perfect person for this opportunity because he’s humble and he’ll fit in perfectly.”
Grigorakos wasn’t the only Owl to make it onto a professional or semi-professional roster, though. Ryne Griesenauer reached a deal with the Massachusetts Pirates and former Owl Devante Jenkins is on the Maine Mammoths, both of the Arena Football League.
“[The league] is a college-type season: 10 games and then some playoffs. I’m going to get off the plane and head right to practice,” Grigorakos said. “And then there’s a game that Saturday.”
He said once he officially signed his contract last weekend he stepped up his workouts even more, saying he was already in-shape but he had to make sure he was game-ready.
His last formal action came in the Owls’ season finale Nov. 11, a 34-0 win over Pace to conclude the 2017 campaign at 5-5.
“I’ve played this game that I love my entire life,” Grigorakos said. “It was good to finish on a high note personally and also with the team. We’ve all given so much to Southern and they have our back.”
Photo Credit: southernctowls.com