The Barcelona Dragons prepare for their final week of the inaugural season of the European League of Football vs the Frankfurt Galaxy. This is a tall order, as the Galaxy sits at the number 1 team in the league right now. So I was extremely grateful that Dragons WR Remi Bertellin took time out of his week to share his football story with me on Tuesday.
Remi is a Frenchman, playing American football in Spain. In a league predominately made up of German teams. But that’s not all the story for this elite worldly athlete.
He says he started out like many Europeans, playing what we Americans call soccer, and then making the transition into American football as a young teenager. He caught the bug, so to speak, and the decisions he made as he grew into the man he is today have led him to one of the top WRs in the ELF.
Instead of staying home for college, Bertellin knew that if he wanted to make a real go at the sport, he needed to come to North America. He spent 5 years at McGill University, after tearing an ACL afforded him an extra season. He left school with 72 catches, 1,081, and 6 TDs, while adding 376 kickoff return yards.
“I sent my film into many universities in North America, especially in Canada, and Quebec, since they speak French too, and McGill offered me a scholarship. This is what I’ve always wanted, since growing up was to play ‘real’ football, because this is what we’re missing over here in France, the coaching and the experience that you find in the US and in Canada.”
It paid off.
His last year at McGill was the same year the CFL began its Global Initiative, but Remi wasn’t selected, unfortunately. So he went home to France, where he finished his Master’s, but as soon as that was finished, the pandemic hit. Forcing him to wait until he could once again travel to play the sport he loved.
“I signed up on Europlayers, and the Dragons’ GM Bart Iaccarino asked if I would consider playing for them, and I straight accepted the offer because I felt like it was such a huge chance to be part of such a program in a new league, it’s really exciting.”
Bertellin is currently 2nd – only to his teammate Jean Constant – in the league in receiving yards with 693 on 38 catches and 6 TDs. But that’s not all he does for Barcelona. He’s also a placeholder. It’s common for players with good hands to do that, although usually, it’s a QB.
Week 11 is the Dragons’ final game of the season. Their 2nd bye is Week 12, so ending the year against the top team in the league is challenging. On top of it, they need to win to be in a position to secure a playoff spot. None of this is lost on Remi. He knows how big this week is.
“We’re basically playing the best team in the ELF. But we play at home, I think that we play better at home, and I hope that it won’t rain every day like it does when we travel to Germany. We’re a passing offense, and that’s not easy to do in thunderstorms. I think if we can get everyone on the same page for this last game, I think we can surprise people.”
We wrapped up the conversation talking about the turning point of their season – the win against Cologne. There was a coaching change that week, Patrick Wennin took over OC duties, and despite the adversity, the Dragons came out on top in an absolute shootout with a very tough team.
“It’s a challenge for real. Coach Patrick kept it simple, and followed the plan, and I’m very happy and grateful that we were able to come together a get the big win against a good team like the Centurions.”
For the rest of the conversation, you’ll have to tune into Mark’s weekly podcast, on our YouTube Channel.
Thank you, Remi, for talking to us, and good luck this weekend.