September 20, 2012

North Central Alum Josh McLeod Plays Pro Football in Germany

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

Growing up in nearby Lisle, Ill., former North Central College safety Josh McLeod '12 dreamed of playing professional football. Unlike many of his peers, McLeod achieved his dreams this summer, taking an unconventional route to the pro ranks by signing a contract with the Frankfurt Universe of the German Football League (GFL). 

"My dream and goal since I was in junior high was to play pro football," said McLeod. I never thought it would be overseas, though."

McLeod finished a stellar three-year career with the Cardinals in 2011 and served as a captain his senior season. He was a three-time First Team All-CCIW selection and is second all-time in North Central history in interceptions with 13. 

After completing his final season at North Central, McLeod registered on Europlayers.com, a website that provides exposure for players looking to play football in Europe. Despite talking with a couple teams, it wasn't until former North Central College assistant football coach Matt Foster got in touch with a friend who coaches overseas that McLeod finally broke through and signed with the Universe for the 2012 summer season.  

McLeod signed a typical contract for an American in the GFL, which included a round-trip flight to Frankfurt, fully furnished apartment, health insurance, gym membership, a few meals per week, small stipend and access to a car, which he shared with three other Americans on the team. Despite being a paid member of the team, this was hardly the norm for the Universe. Native Germans, most of whom were in their late 20s and early 30s, were not paid and all held full-time jobs.   

After arriving in Germany in June, McLeod made an immediate impact with the Universe and was able to fit in with teammates early on.

"They gave me the nickname 'Nightmare' for two reasons," he said. "One was to intimidate the opponents because they saw my highlights from NCC and knew I can hit some people. And the other was because my home address in Lisle is on Elm Street, a name they connected to the movie 'Nightmare on Elm Street.'"

Once McLeod got on the playing field, he lived up to his new nickname. Despite missing the first four games of the season, he finished third on the team in tackles and tied for the team lead with four interceptions. In his second-to-last game of the season against the Frankfurt Pirates, McLeod picked off three passes and returned one for 62 yards and a touchdown.   

"The biggest football adjustment was having to play a more prominent role on the team," McLeod said.  "At North Central, I played safety and sparingly on special teams, but for the Universe I played on all special teams, including field goals. I had to help support the run more (on defense), which I really enjoyed. The speed was slower than I was used to and equivalent to a lower- to mid-level Division III school."

The language barrier was something McLeod didn't have to worry about because many of his teammates began speaking English in third grade. McLeod appreciated how well he was treated by both the Universe fans and his teammates, who dropped everything to help him out and became great friends off the field, with some planning to visit the United States next spring. 

"I'd recommend playing abroad to really anyone, but especially to people interested in history and traveling. There are still several places I'd love to travel to if I went back, like Prague, Munich and Athens."

McLeod says his experience in Europe was unforgettable and he enjoyed traveling around Germany by train and booked a flight to Rome in his free time. He has expressed interest in going back to the Universe for next season, if given the opportunity. McLeod graduated from North Central in June with a degree in elementary education.

comments powered by Disqus
Oct. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 37, Gettysburg 14
Box Score Recap
Oct. 25: All times Eastern
Final
Hobart 35, at RPI 3
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Massachusetts Maritime 46, at Mass-Dartmouth 41
Box Score Recap
Final
Maine Maritime 62, at Nichols 43
Box Score
Final
at Alfred 14, Frostburg State 3
Box Score Recap
Final
at Ithaca 32, Salisbury 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Framingham State 38, at Plymouth State 0
Box Score
Final
Morrisville State 47, at Southern Virginia 23
Box Score
Final
at Wesleyan 35, Bowdoin 0
Box Score
Final
Middlebury 27, at Trinity (Conn.) 7
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 61, at Alfred State 0
Box Score Recap Photos
Final - OT
at Bates 34, Colby 28
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Amherst 30, Tufts 3
Box Score
Final
Wesley 75, at Virginia-Lynchburg 12
Box Score
Final
Husson 47, at Castleton State 26
Box Score Recap
Final
Williams 21, at Hamilton 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 57, FDU-Florham 0
Box Score
Final
DePauw 59, at Allegheny 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 42, Moravian 12
Box Score
Final
at Olivet 30, Kalamazoo 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Trine 51, Albion 45
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Ida 10, at Gallaudet 6
Box Score Recap
Final
Cortland State 21, at Kean 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Wisconsin Lutheran 17, at Adrian 7
Box Score
Final
Hampden-Sydney 45, at Shenandoah 27
Box Score Photos
Final
at Emory and Henry 62, Catholic 28
Box Score
Final
Hope 33, at Alma 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Vincent 38, Carnegie Mellon 31
Box Score
Final
Dickinson 33, at McDaniel 28
Box Score
Final
Guilford 28, at Randolph-Macon 6
Box Score Recap
Final - OT
Methodist 42, at N.C. Wesleyan 39
Box Score
Final
at Ursinus 44, Susquehanna 14
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Kenyon 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Montclair State 20, Rowan 16
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at St. Lawrence 21, Springfield 7
Box Score
Final
at Delaware Valley 41, Misericordia 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wabash 70, Oberlin 10
Box Score Recap
Final
Hiram 35, at Ohio Wesleyan 28
Box Score Recap
Final
at Lebanon Valley 46, Wilkes 0
Final
at Muhlenberg 42, Juniata 13
Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Albright 30, King's 24
Box Score Recap
Final
William Paterson 21, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Millsaps 38, Sewanee 20
Box Score
Final
Endicott 14, at Coast Guard 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 74, Wilmington 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at John Carroll 71, Capital 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 41, Rose-Hulman 21
Box Score Photos
Final
at Thomas More 64, Grove City 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Widener 34, at Lycoming 17
Box Score
Final
at Heidelberg 40, Marietta 20
Box Score Recap
Final
at Union 16, Rochester 14
Box Score
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 63, Anderson 14
Box Score
Final
at Bluffton 24, Manchester 16
Box Score Recap
Final
Otterbein 20, at Baldwin Wallace 9
Box Score
Final
Utica 31, at Buffalo State 21
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Brockport State 17, at Hartwick 12
Box Score Box Score
Final
at SUNY-Maritime 13, Becker 6
Box Score Recap
Final
at Bridgewater (Va.) 24, Washington and Lee 13
Box Score
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Case Western Reserve 24
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Bridgewater State 27, at Westfield State 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hendrix 38, Austin 28
Box Score
Final
at Benedictine 44, Concordia-Chicago 11
Box Score Recap
Final
LaGrange 24, at Huntingdon 17
Box Score
Final
at Lakeland 14, Aurora 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at Birmingham-Southern 23, Berry 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Concordia (Wis.) 42, Rockford 14
Box Score
Final
at UW-River Falls 20, UW-Eau Claire 10
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 52, Carleton 3
Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Hamline 7
Box Score
Final
Augsburg 38, at St. Olaf 20
Box Score
Final
at Illinois College 49, Lake Forest 6
Box Score Recap
Final
Loras 27, at Simpson 24
Box Score
Final
Buena Vista 44, at Dubuque 39
Box Score
Final
at St. Norbert 29, Beloit 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Carroll 48, at Ripon 14
Final
at Macalester 33, Lawrence 0
Box Score
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 72, at Texas Lutheran 16
Box Score Recap
Final
Augustana 31, at Carthage 26
Box Score Recap
Final
Elmhurst 29, at Illinois Wesleyan 28
Box Score Recap
Final
at North Park 26, Millikin 7
Box Score
Final
Central 45, at Coe 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wartburg 52, Luther 7
Box Score
Final
at Monmouth 38, Cornell 21
Box Score
Final
Martin Luther 13, at Minnesota-Morris 12
Box Score
Final
Crown 17, at MacMurray 14
Box Score
Final
at Greenville 52, Iowa Wesleyan 32
Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 24, Northwestern (Minn.) 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Grinnell 21, at Knox 18
Box Score
Final
at UW-Whitewater 24, UW-Oshkosh 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 24, UW-La Crosse 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia (Mich.) 62, at Maranatha Baptist 0
Final
at Bethel 35, St. Thomas 24
Box Score Recap
Final
at Centre 47, Rhodes 35
Box Score Photos
Final
Defiance 45, at Earlham 21
Box Score
Final
at Chicago 44, Washington U. 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Norwich 28, at Anna Maria 20
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 21, at UW-Stout 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Hardin-Simmons 51, at Howard Payne 20
Box Score
Final - OT
WPI 24, at Merchant Marine 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Linfield 59, at Lewis and Clark 7
Box Score
Final
at Pacific Lutheran 56, Willamette 14
Box Score
Final
Redlands 64, at La Verne 28
Box Score
Final
at Whitworth 62, Puget Sound 30
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Pacific 36, at George Fox 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at MIT 35, Western New England 34
Box Score Recap
Final
Worcester State 52, at Western Connecticut 49
Box Score Recap
Final
at Louisiana College 52, East Texas Baptist 49
Final
Ferrum 26, at Averett 14
Box Score
Final
Waynesburg 35, at Thiel 32
Box Score
Final
at Ohio Northern 31, Muskingum 10
Box Score Photos
Final
at Denison 38, Wooster 24
Box Score
Final
at Christopher Newport 45, Greensboro 31
Box Score
Final
at Geneva 20, Bethany 14
Final
at St. Scholastica 59, Eureka 0
Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 34, North Central (Ill.) 31
Box Score Recap
Final
Chapman 45, at Cal Lutheran 21
Box Score
Final
at Occidental 21, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Pomona-Pitzer 24, Whittier 0
Box Score
Oct. 25: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 34, North Central (Ill.) 31
Box Score Recap
Final
Chapman 45, at Cal Lutheran 21
Box Score
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Case Western Reserve 24
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Thomas More 64, Grove City 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 74, Wilmington 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at John Carroll 71, Capital 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Wesley 75, at Virginia-Lynchburg 12
Box Score
Final
Hampden-Sydney 45, at Shenandoah 27
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wabash 70, Oberlin 10
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 61, at Alfred State 0
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Kenyon 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 41, Misericordia 7
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 21, at UW-Stout 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Bethel 35, St. Thomas 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Hobart 35, at RPI 3
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at UW-Whitewater 24, UW-Oshkosh 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wartburg 52, Luther 7
Box Score
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 72, at Texas Lutheran 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Hamline 7
Box Score
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 24, UW-La Crosse 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 52, Carleton 3
Box Score
Final
Linfield 59, at Lewis and Clark 7
Box Score
Oct. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 37, Gettysburg 14
Box Score Recap

What We're Reading