The Søllerød Gold Diggers
January 13th, 2003 marked the day when the American football club Søllerød Gold Diggers was created. The club was originally established by a group of friends wishing to play football for fun, but the 2005 season saw the Gold Diggers enter the Danish American Football Association’s (DAFF) 11-man football tournament as a part of the Danish Second Division.
Though the team would fail to win any games in 2005 (1-1-8, with a desktop victory) and 2006 (0-9), the club itself was developing and expanding. The Gold Diggers established a youth program with both a U16 and a U19 team during this period, and a plan was put in motion to have the senior team placed among the elite clubs in Denmark within a five year period.
An important step in that direction was taken in the preparations for the 2007 season. Despite their losing streak spanning the previous two seasons, the Gold Diggers successfully headhunted and signed Head Coach Kim Ewé. He had previously taken another small club, the Avedøre Monarchs, from the Danish First Division and turned them into three-time Danish national champions by winning the Mermaid Bowl three years in a row. In addition to signing Head Coach Ewé, the club further expanded its youth program with the creation of a U13 team.
For the 2007 season, the Gold Diggers were placed in the Danish First Division.
Throughout the off-season, Head Coach Ewé and the rest of the coaching staff worked hard to develop the team and implement new systems on both sides of the ball. All the hard work paid off as the Gold Diggers would not only win their first game in two years, but would go on to win the First Division (7-1) and the subsequent promotion playoffs thus capping the most successful season in the team’s history by being promoted to the National League, the best league in Denmark
For their initial season in the National League, the goal was just to avoid relegation. But at the conclusion of the 2008 season, the Gold Diggers had compiled an 8-2 record and by winning their first ever National League playoff game, they now faced the reigning Danish champions, the Triangle Razorbacks, in their first championship game, Mermaid Bowl XX. Despite scoring the first TD of the game, the Gold Diggers eventually lost the game 55-24, but in spite of the loss, the team had proved that they belonged in the National League. And during three short years, they had obtained their goal of being one of the elite teams in Denmark.
In preparation for the 2009 season, the Gold Diggers went through several changes on the coaching side and added further talent to the roster, welcoming newcomers from both outside and within the organization. The TEAM, the fondly apt nickname for the Gold Diggers’elite team, was thus primed for a Mermaid Bowl run. While finishing with a worse record than in 2008 (7-3), the final two games of the regular season had been closely contested affairs against the three-time reigning champions, the Triangle Razorbacks, who had pulled off last minute victories in both games. The TEAM would not be denied, though, and after winning their semi-final comfortably by beating the Hvidovre Stars 34-8, the Gold Diggers once again faced the Razorbacks for a rematch of the 2008 final in Mermaid Bowl XXI. Despite being underdogs, and in line with the saying that “third time’s the charm”, the Gold Diggers emerged victorious winning 10-0 in a horrendous shower mainly due to amazing plays by the Gold Diggers’ opportunistic defense which created a host of turnovers. In just four years, the Søllerød Gold Diggers had not only fulfilled their dream of competing with the Danish elite, they had emerged on the very top of it.
In 2010, the Søllerød Gold Diggers competed in the EFAF Cup going up against the Carlstad Crusaders, who later won the Swedish championship. The Diggers ended up losing 27-10 in a well played match on Swedish ground. The 2010 season marked a succesful year for all teams, the U16 team reached the semifinals, the U19 team played in their first championship game, falling just short of a championship with a 19-20 loss to the Triangle Razorbacks.
The Gold Diggers NL team set out to defend their championship from 2009 and did so with class, after losing two games in the regular season the Triangle Razorbacks was once again the opponent in the Mermaid Bowl. A nationally televised game and more than 2000 spectators set the scene for a great game, that featured another stellar performance by the Gold Diggers defense, which succeeded in holding the Razorbacks to 8 quarters without a score in the Mermaid Bowl and eventually it lead to a 13-0 victory and the Gold Diggers were champions once again.
The 2011 will forever be marked as the season in witch the Søllerød Gold Diggers established themselves as a junior powerhouse in Denmark. For the second year in a row, the U19 team qualified for the championship game, this time facing the Towers. Led by no less than 16 U19 National Team players (Danish U19 record), the Gold Diggers beat the Towers in a 16-7 victory. Head Coach Nicholas Hjorth could lift the trophy and bring home the first junior championship in SGD history.
The elite team led by HC Kim Ewé once again played a fantastic season, leading them to the Mermaid Bowl, after being sent out of the EFAF Cup. The opponent, once again the Triangle Razorbacks, could finish the game as champions, after one of the closest and most exiting games in Mermaid Bowl history. The game ended 35-31 and a recap can be seen here.
The U19 powerhouse was led by 2011 OC Troels Berthelsen, who had been promoted after Nicholas Hjorth accepted a NL OC job from the Herlev Rebels. Coach Berthelsen had no intentions on slowing down in 2012. Undefeated going into the championship game, the U19 team saw themselves trailing to the Towers 13-7 with 02:20 left on the clock. QB Casper Reinhardt led his team to the 9 yards line, where he on a third down with 27 seconds left, attempted to find WR Simon Mathiesen, but a drop forced the Gold Diggers to go for it on 4th down. Reinhardt tried to find Phillip Holm on a slant route, but he tripped, and the game was over. With one kneel down, the Towers could lift the trophy.
The NL team had a brilliant year. Winning the EFAF semifinal at home against Armiens Spartans, in a nervebreaking match up in front of nearly a thousand spectators, gave the Gold Diggers the opportunity to win their first European gold medal. Highlights can be seen here. The opponent in the final, the Triangle Razorbacks. The Gold Diggers won the game, a game that will be remembered as the first international gold in Danish history. Game highligts can be seen here.
The NL team once again made it to the Mermaid Bowl, but lost a crucial close game to the Razorbacks. Behind the scenes can be seen here.
The end of the 2012 season marked the end of an era as future SGD Hall of Fame QB Alexander Cimadon called it a career.
U19 had a strong generation of players from 2010-2012, and now it was time for new stars to emerge. Unfortunatly the U19 team didn't manage to qualify for another Junior Bowl. Meeting the Kolding Guardians in the semi final, the U19 team ended their season on a acceptable 3rd place.
The elite NL team was once again led by Kim Ewé, who won European gold in 2012. This year they brought in an American quarterback, Zach Shaw, to lead the team as the future prospect Casper Reinhardt recovered from surgery. The 2013 season also marked participation in the Champions League, highlighted by qualification to the quarter finals. Vienna Vikings waited there, and it ended being the final destination. The 2013 season also ended with a loss in the National League semifinal. Here the Gold Diggers were beat by their arch rivals and later Danish champions from the Copenhagen Towers.
U16 was led by new Head Coach Casper Reinhardt, as they for the first time in club history secured the Danish National Championship, beating the Aarhus Tigers U16 team in the final. After some great years, the U19 team saw themselves out of the playoff as they didn't manage to get a winning season.
The elite team was once again beaten in the final by the arch rivals from Copenhagen Towers. The 2014 season marked the end of an era, as head coach Kim Ewé was headhunted by Castelfranco Cavalliers in Italy.
2015 marks the begining of the third era of the club, as President Kim Johansen chose to retire and pass on the torch to the only 22 year old Casper Reinhardt. Reinhardts' first move as a president was to create a group of leaders forming the SGD Sports Board. The leaders of sport contained Reinhardt himself, and newly named co head coaches of the elite team Troels Vestergaard and John Hansen. The tasks of the board was to regain control of the organisation and restore it to former glory after being absent in the Mermaid Bowl for two seasons. Building the foundation on the gloryfied junior department, should turn out to be a great idea.
U16 started out the year with ambitions of defending the national championship. Once again led by head coach Casper Reinhardt, the U16 team did just that. Beating the Aarhus Tigers in the final for the second year in a row, also sent the second U16 trophy to Søllerød. The U19 team participated in the JNL tournament as a U17 team and managed to pull off a decent season, missing the playoffs by only a touchdown in the tie breaker vs Ørestaden Spartans.
The NL team had former DC Troels Vestergaard and former OC John Hansen as newly named co head coaches. With a big group of players coming together as "Holdet", the coaches had a strong roster including only danish players. "Holdet" was a group of players from the Danish national team, who came together to beat the champions from Copenhagen Towers, and they did just that. Beating the Towers 3-0 in the semifinal, marked the return to the Mermaid Bowl for the Gold Diggers as they now could face the Razorbacks for the 6th time. Playing the Mermaid Bowl at Viborg Stadion, SGD had the lead through the entire game, before fumbling the ball on the final drive to end the game. Razorbacks took over, and drove down the field to take the lead with only 43 seconds left, a terrible ending to an almost perfect season.
Watch highlights from the game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx3ybhQrD60