History of German Ladies American Football
American Football reached Europe after World War II when US soldiers played their exotic game during their stay in Germany. Even Germans where allowed to be part of the teams but it was still too early for a breakthrough of this sport.
The real starting shot was in 1977. In Frankfurt (Main) some Germans and Americans formed the first American Football sports club, the Frankfurter Löwen (Frankfurt Lions). They played the first games against US Army teams – with big losses. But their effort was followed by the founding of a lot of new clubs in other cities (Düsseldorf Panther, Munich Cowboys, Ansbach Grizzlies, Bremerhaven Seahawks and Berlin Bears). The first official season was played in 1979.
In 1982 the German Football Association was constituted and the first youth teams and a men’s national team were being established. It was a long way from there but today American Football is the 42nd most popular sport in Germany according to the memberships statistics, right in front of (Ice) Hockey on #43 and Baseball on #45.
In 1986 the first girls in Berlin and Hannover started to play American Football, too. The first official game was played in Hannover on September 27th 1987 between the Berlin Adler Girls and a team featuring players of the Cologne Crocodiles, Hannover Ambassadors and Leverkusen Leopards. Berlin was defeated with 20:56.
The first international game was played on October 8th 1989: a German delegation (consisting of players from the Cologne Crocodiles, Berlin Adler Girls, Münster Mammuts, Leverkusen Leopards and Hannover Ambassadors) travelled to Leicester/United Kingdom, scoring a 27:06 win against a British team. The return match on May 8th 1990 in Cologne resulted in a loss.
The women’s league started to operate in 1990, until then the teams only played a lot of friendly games. At the end the Bamberg Lady Bears and the Hanover Ambassadors were the best of the six teams, Bamberg won the final game with 14:12.
The first official German Championship game was played in 1992. Eight teams formed the league at the time, of which two teams are still playing today (Mülheim and Nürnberg). In the end the Bamberg Lady Bears won the Ladies Bowl I with a 23:00 victory against the Mülheim Shamrocks.
In 1993 two young teams reached the Ladies Bowl II, the Berlin Adler Girls and the Frankfurt Gamblers. Berlin won Ladies Bowl II and would continue to dominate the league until 1997 (Ladies Bowl VI).
1995 the football association set up a second tier for the fist time to split the ten teams according to their performance level. In 1996 this was changed again and the teams where put into two groups according to where they were based.
The Nürnberg (Nuremberg) Hurricanes were the team to stop Berlin in 1998 in the semi-finals. They became the German Champion after a win at Ladies Bowl VII against the Cologne Crocodiles and met Berlin again in 1999, where they received their second national title.
But Berlin made a huge comeback. In 2000 they beat the Hamburg Maniacs, in 2001 the Munich Cowboys (after a perfect season in which their opponents didn’t manage to score a single point against them), in 2002 and 2003 the Munich Cowboys Ladies again and in 2004 the Hamburg Amazons – for the second time in their history they had achieved five Championships titles in a row.
In 2005 and 2006 it was finally the Munich Cowboys Ladies to show their mettle (dominating the Hamburg Amazons and Berlin Kobra Ladies), followed by a winning streak of the newly formed Berlin Kobra Ladies in 2007 and 2008 (both times overpowering the Nürnberg Hurricanes).
Since 2008 the German women’s league plays a 1st and a 2nd division again. The tier 1 teams use the official NCAA rules, just like all other men and youth teams in Germany. The tier 2 teams do only play 9 vs. 9 tackle football as they have smaller or younger teams, still establishing their sport in the regional area. In Germany girls are allowed to start playing in women’s teams with 16 years. Younger girls need to play either in mixed youth teams or simply flag football.
The Ladies Bowl XVIII featured the same teams as the year before: the Nürnberg Hurricanes and the Berlin Kobra Ladies, both undefeated within the regular season. After an exciting and run-dominated game the Kobra girls received their third national champions title with a 41:26 win.
Shortly after that event the first try outs for the German women’s national team were being held in Cologne. More then 110 football ladies were invited to introduce themselves to the coaches. This will be followed by a training camp in early 2010 to prepare the ladies for the upcoming first ever women’s world championships 2010 in Sweden.
The „Teams“ section on this website features all teams playing women’s football in Germany, active teams as well as teams that no longer exist.
Since the World Championship 2010 Female Football has made a big step forward in Germany. The Game becomes better and better. But also the number of Teams increases. The 2. National Women league becomes the motor of development. More teams, more players. In the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen also leagues on third and forth level are established. These local leagues only plays with 5 players on the field, but it is good start for new teams.
The bronze medal at the European Championships was the first success for the German National Team.