Lorenzo Breland Brings AFL, American Football to BrazilMarch 31, 2012 - Arena Football League (AFL) New Orleans VooDoo
While Brleand was in Rio de Janeiro, he was recruited to play for the New Orleans VooDoo via Facebook conversations with Head Coach Pat O'Hara.
"It was tough corresponding on Facebook when I was outside of the country. It was definitely a different experience," said Breland.
"It made the recruiting side of things a little different with Breland by only communicating through Facebook and email, but it all worked out," said O'Hara.
"Thank God for Facebook!" laughed O'Hara.
What was Brleand doing in Rio de Janiero? Exactly what he is passionate about: playing football.
In September 2011, Breland was overseas playing and coaching for the Fulminense Imperadores in the Brazilian League of American Football (LBFA).
While Breland was playing for the Tulsa Talons early that year, one of his teammates, Matt Bassuener, was looking for American football players to play in the LBFA. Breland accepted the offer from Bassuener.
In Brazil, Breland played both on the offensive and defensive line, and coached for the Fulminense Imperadores from September to December of last year.
"It was a definitely a great experience for me playing and coaching in Brazil. Their love for football is just amazing," said Breland.
The Imperadores won the Brazil Bowl II in 2011, which is the LBFA National Championship, while Breland was on the roster.
"The biggest challenge was that the league started out playing on the beach. So we had a lot of guys who were used to playing on the sand," said Breland.
Using NCAA rules for the league's structure, the LBFA played on the beach for 10 years, and last season was its third season playing in full pads and on a grass field, according to Breland.
As a coach, Breland showed his teammates some of the drills he knew from being a seasoned veteran in arena football. He also showed them some techniques such as foot placement and patterns for playing on the field.
Yet, being in a foreign country and not knowing how to speak Portuguese, Breland was faced with a challenging language barrier when trying to communicate with his teammates.
He was given a translator to help him communicate with other players, but according to Brleand trying to understand Portuguese was not an easy task.
"Some of the guys did not know how to speak English. I had to exercise a lot of patience, and I started to pick up on it a little bit. Once I got to where I could communicate with the players, it all worked out."
Now, Breland hopes to bring some of his coaching skills he learned in Brazil to New Orleans this season.
"I definitely think I can pull guys to the side and show them different angles and philosophies about the game. The biggest challenge about arena football is that it is a lot faster. Things happen a lot quicker, and there is more energy."
However, Breland is no rookie to arena football as he has performed between the walls two years prior to his assignment to the New Orleans VooDoo. In 2010, he played with the Alabama Vipers before taking his talents to the Tulsa Talons, where he was until 2011.
Not only does Breland have years of AFL experience, he has also been exceeding the boundaries of arena football by not only playing, but also getting a chance to coach in a foreign country.
Breland plans to enhance the New Orleans VooDoo by his performance on its offensive line this season, as well as his ability to teach his young teammates the ins-and-outs of arena football.
"Lorenzo is a season veteran, and is a proven player in the AFL. We have a lot of young guys that can benefit from Lorenzo's knowledge of our game," said O'Hara. "He leads by example and understands players and personalities. I am also positive that he was a good ambassador for the AFL and American football during his time spent in Brazil."
The New Orleans VooDoo travel to take on the Utah Blaze in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. locally, and the game will appear live in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Acadiana.
Arena Football League Stories from March 31, 2012
- Philadelphia Signs Emergency Kicker Connor Hughes - Philadelphia Soul
- Lorenzo Breland Brings AFL, American Football to Brazil - New Orleans VooDoo
- Spokane Drops Second Home - Spokane Shock
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