Coach Ryan Lockard hasn't hung up his cleats quite yet. During the Pioneer offseason, Lockard takes a trip across the Atlantice to continue his football playing career. Lockard currently plays in Poland for the Warsaw Eagles. I got a chance to ask him some questions about his experiences. Whats it like playing football in a foreign country?
There is no other experience like playing football in a foreign country. You get to experience new cultures, learn new languages, get to see amazing historical sites, and play the game that you love. On top of that, you get paid to do it! Can’t beat that.
1.Favorite thing about Poland?
My favorite thing about Poland has been learning about the Second World War’s impact on the country. I live right in the middle of downtown Warsaw, the country’s capital, and during WWII the city was completely destroyed by the Germans. There were 1,300,000 people who lived in Warsaw before the German invasion and only 1,000 people were still living in the ruins after the war ended. It is amazing to see how the city is now after seeing pictures of the ruins.
2.How do you spend your time?
I really don’t have very many things that occupy my time during the week. I have 2 ones hour and a half practices each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then play our games on either Saturday or Sunday. Before I practice on Thursday, the other Americans and I go and help coach at our junior team’s practice. We serve not only as coaches for the junior team, but also on our own team. It is very common to be a player coach in Europe.
During the day, I’ll go to the gym and workout and do some site seeing with some of my teammates. I’ll also watch film of the upcoming opponent and break down their game film. Most of the guys on the team do not know how to watch film properly, so I will always go over the film with them at practice and tell them what to look for when they watch it.
3.Whats the number 1 question foreigners ask you?
“Where is Oregon?” Anytime I tell someone where I’m from, that’s usually the question I get. Everyone in Europe knows where California because of Hollywood and all of the movies, so I just explain it by saying that it is the state that borders California to the north. Then they always assume that the weather is just as nice in Oregon as it is in California.
4.Anything you've learned to say in Polish?
The guys have taught me how to say some things on the field, but I don’t really know how to say too many things that I would say to my mother. I’m learning though, slowly but surely.
5.How is the team lookin'?
We’re looking pretty solid. There are a lot of big and athletic guys on our team, they just don’t know the game very well because football has only been in Poland for about six years. There are three other Americans on the team, two of which were DIII All-Americans. We’re picked to finish third or forth in the league, but we’re about to surprise a lot of people.
6. You've played football in France, Denmark and now Poland, which is the best?
That’s a tough question. I had a great time playing in France and Denmark, but I also love it so far in Poland. I would have to say that each country has different things to offer. France has amazing food and wine, Denmark has the happiest people that I’ve ever seen and gorgeous girls (although Poland is up there too), and I like Poland’s history and am impressed by the resiliency of the Polish people for rebuilding their country after WWII.