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
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Anna Maria at Coast Guard
7:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Lebanon Valley
7:00 PM
Ursinus at Millersville
7:30 PM
Manchester at Trine
Live Stats Video
8:00 PM
Belhaven at Millsaps
Video
8:00 PM
Bethel at UW-Stout
Sep. 4: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Salisbury at Albright
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Bridgewater
7:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Morrisville State
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
MIT at WPI
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Westfield State at Nichols
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Becker at Fitchburg State
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Stevenson at N.C. Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Mount Ida at Mass-Dartmouth
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Curry at Bridgewater State
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Wilkes at Muhlenberg
Audio
7:00 PM
Averett at Washington and Lee
Live Stats Video
8:00 PM
Luther at UW-La Crosse
Sep. 5: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Hobart at Dickinson
12:00 PM
Norwich at RPI
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Heidelberg at Cortland State
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
12:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Thomas More
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Alfred at Husson
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Framingham State at Endicott
Live Stats
12:00 PM
TCNJ at Christopher Newport
12:00 PM
Worcester State at Salve Regina
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Grove City at Juniata
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Southwestern Assemblies
Video
1:00 PM
Montclair State at Delaware Valley
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Susquehanna
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
William Paterson at Alfred State
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Alma at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Springfield at Western New England
1:00 PM
Ferrum at Emory and Henry
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Earlham at Olivet
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hampden-Sydney
Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at Wooster
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Ithaca at Union
1:00 PM
Brockport State at Oberlin
1:00 PM
John Carroll at St. Vincent
Audio
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Randolph-Macon
1:00 PM
Castleton at Plymouth State
1:00 PM
Methodist at Apprentice
1:00 PM
Waynesburg at Muskingum
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Rhodes
1:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Chicago
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Washington U.
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Centre at Hanover
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Buffalo State at Otterbein
1:30 PM
Wittenberg at Capital
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at Franklin
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Bethany at Mount Union
Live Stats Tickets
1:30 PM
Bluffton at Wilmington
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at UW-Platteville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
North Park at Concordia (Wis.)
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Kenyon at Sewanee
2:00 PM
Rockford at Lawrence
Video
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Lake Forest
Audio
2:00 PM
Carthage at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Coe
2:00 PM
Jamestown at Concordia-Moorhead
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Macalester at Carleton
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Hamline
2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at St. Olaf
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Dubuque at St. John's
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Illinois College at Aurora
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Simpson
2:00 PM
Hendrix at Austin
Video
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Hardin-Simmons
2:00 PM
Knox at Eureka
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Ripon
2:00 PM
Louisiana College at Huntingdon
Video
2:00 PM
Loras at Elmhurst
Live Stats
3:00 PM
Pacific at College of Idaho
3:30 PM
Beloit at Concordia-Chicago
Live Stats Video
3:30 PM
George Fox at La Verne
4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Live Stats
4:30 PM
Misericordia at Utica
Live Stats Video Audio
5:00 PM
Western Connecticut at Hartwick
5:00 PM
Defiance at Adrian
Live Stats Video
6:00 PM
Moravian at King's
6:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at LaGrange
Live Stats
6:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at Albion
7:00 PM
Guilford at Greensboro
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Allegheny at Thiel
7:00 PM
Gallaudet at Shenandoah
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Rose-Hulman
Live Stats Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Hiram
7:00 PM
Marietta at Denison
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Anderson at Taylor (Ind.)
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at Ohio Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Frostburg State at Geneva
7:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at Robert Morris University (Ill.)
7:00 PM
Greenville at Millikin
7:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Howard Payne
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Sul Ross State
Audio
7:00 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Augustana
7:00 PM
Benedictine at Central
Live Stats Video
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video
7:30 PM
Catholic at McDaniel
Live Stats Video Video
8:00 PM
McMurry at East Texas Baptist
8:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Live Stats Video
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Wartburg
Live Stats Video
8:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Crown
8:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Cornell
Maintenance in progress.