ABOUT THE RAPTORS
A DIVE INTO THE PAST
In the fall of 1999 a group of enthusiastic people gathered because they loved the game of football, after seeing the game on television. These people were also regulars at the games of the Amsterdam Admirals, the, then, professional footballteam of the European branch of the NFL. One of them even worked for this organisation. This small group (Perry Hendriks, Michael Schneider, Maarten Heida, Bart Wintraecken en Maurice Lamme) thought it strange that there was no football team in Eindhoven. After some inquiries they found out that there used to be a team, the Alleycats, but that this team stopped nearly 10 years before. In good spirit the group started to raise there own team in Eindhoven. They quickly came up with a name. They would name themselve the "Raptors". Michael Schneider himself had nearly 15 years experience as a player. The raptors found a coach. However, they only had a few players. Publicity was needed. And publicity they got. 10 Seconds to be precise. During the Superbowl of januari 2000, broadcasted by Fox, the email adress of the Eindhoven Raptors appeared on screen for 10 seconds. Result: 65 boys where interested. . Even in there wildest dreams they had not expected this. What next? The organisation had to form its definitive shape and practices had to be organised. How where they supposed to do that with only 1 coach? Who was going to take a seat on the board, etc.? . That question almost resolved itselve. As it so happened, there was a team in Vught that almost ceased to excist. There where player/coaches active on this team, also with 15 year experience in football and let it so be, these player/coaches, Rob Dankers and Arrien van Schaik, lived in Eindhoven. Coachesproblem solved. One care less. Since an organisation, especially a starting one, needs a lot of work on administrative level, it was important to get the right persons at the right spot. The Raptors where lucky so far, there was no question this would also resolve itself. And it did. In the person of Ben Dankers they found a president with extensive experience in the administrative field with over 30 years experience in different functions. Among the original group they found a treasurer with 7 years experience in that field. Now they were getting somewhere. The crucial positions were filled and in march 2000 the Raptors started their first official practices at "Sportpark 't Bokt".
First practise, april 2000
In the first few months a lot of new guys left for various reasons. About 35 were left, with whom the start was made to build a solid organisation. On june 20, 2000, the foundation of the American football organisation Eindhoven Raptors was made official.
In the first period of practises for the Raptors, training was based on the non-contact version of American football, flag football. This was necessary because only a few players had the complete football outfit. First game experiences were made with flag football in the cup competition. The Raptors made it to the semi fanal. In august the first full gear equipment was bought and now, finally, full contact could begin.
Now most of the boys all had the well known equipment, but still no game uniforms. Also, they did not have their own field for games and they trained on a training field that belonged to v. v. Nieuw Woensel. Early in 2001 the Eindhoven Raptors got their game uniforms and they were also, after a hearty discussion in the then commission for Sport of the Eindhoven City Council, given permission to use their training field also as game field. The municipality even put the required typical goalposts on the field. The Raptors started to play competition in the Dutch American Football League and the Raptors started in the third division. In the mean time the Raptors had grown to a full team and they were then all powerfull in the competition of the now American Football Bond Nederland (AFBN). This bond was formed from the merger between the American Football League Nederland (AFLN) and the Dutch American Football Federation (NAFF). The 2003 season was rewarded with a undefeated national championship and promotion to the second division.
First group in full gear, 2000
In 2004 the aim was to maintain in the second division of the AFBN, but instead the Raptors headed straight for the play-offs. Unfortunately they were shutt out for the finals that year. In 2005 , the Eindhoven Raptors reached the final of the second division of the AFBN, where they lost from Maastricht. Never the less the Eindhoven Raptors were promoted to the first division. Unfortunately, this promotion could find no continuity because the team greatly changed, some American boys left, others players went elsewhere for study or couldn’t handle the hard training regime in combination with their work. The team had to retire from the competition. The organisation worked hard to make a comeback and in 2007 they joined the competition again, however, in the third division.
There were still a number of difficult years with high’s and low’s, with the lowest point 2012 where the Raptors almost ceased to exist. Because of the hard work of a number of enthousiast and loyal people, however, there has been a turning point and the team is well on its way to grow and the growing success is also present on the field. The 2013 season ended in the play offs, where they lost from Enschede. Membership has stabilized and is slowly but steadily rising. Th Raptors are also working on their future by means of a youth tackling team. In that same line, the Raptors are working together with several schools in and near Eindhoven, giving football clinics at schools like the Eckartcollege and the Stedelijk College Eindhoven.
Championship team season 2002/2003
On the road to National Champions, Eindhovens Dagblad, 16 june 2003
In 2014 the Raptors played in a new 1st division with very strong opponents. A number of pre-season exhibition games were won and the season started strongly. Unfortunately, the play-offs were not met and the season ended with a 4-3 record. Although only just, it is still a winning season. Also this season the Raptors entered the competition with a flagfootball team, the non-contact version of American football. Unfortunately, it stayed with this one season.
Eindhoven Raptors, team 2013
Raptors senior flag football team 2014
Compared to 2014, the 2015 season was less successful, the Raptors won a few games, but lost more. But with a new comprehensive coaching staff, consisting of Robin Cornelissens, Roland Meier, Rick Vermij and Arrien van Schaik and a motivated team, everyone was looking forward to celebrating the 15th anniversary.
Coaches Robin, Roland, Arriën and Rick, 2015
Banner celebrating 15 years Eindhoven Raptors
2016 became a difficult year. Although it ended optimistically the year before, it turned out that the expectations could not be realized. Some boys stopped and the growth stagnated. To make matters worse, some key players got injured. As a result, the team was getting smaller and the Raptors could not, in a few cases, draw up the official number of players (18). This meant that the game was officially considered lost with 00-20. But the Raptors are not the team to just give up, no, so in order not to disappoint their own players and certainly the opponents in the competition, it was decided to play the planned matches, albeit with a very small team, a so-called controlled scrimmage. This reaped the necessary respect with the opponents, since the Raptors with often only 12 or 13 players did not roll over easy (http://enschede-broncos.nl/broncos-sparren-met-eindhoven-raptors/). It was striking that the only winning match of that season was against the undefeated leader of the division, the Lelystad Commanders.
controlled scrimmage with the Enschede Broncos 12-06-2016
2017 is the largest low point for the Raptors so far. After the 2016 season, due to multiple causes, a large number of the older loyal hard core of the team stopped. Rookie camps to recruit members were well attended, but yielded few new members. As a result, the Raptors had too few experienced players to enter a game safely and responsibly. The attendance at the training was also getting worse, which resulted in a negative training spiral. Because of this the Raptors were forced not to enter the competition. First, good plans had to be made for a restart.
However, it was not all bad. A piece of light flashed in the darkness. What happened? Due to the poor training attendance, 2 of the younger Raptors, Mitch Spill and Colin Hanssen, who had trouble doing nothing, decided to focus on a part of the Raptors that did not get off the ground in the past. And with success. Slowly but surely the youth is growing and more important, led by Mitch and Colin, supplemented with coach Rick Vermij, they form a close team, with excellent support from a few parents.
The future, Raptors juniors, october 2017
Building the future, Raptor youth 2018