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Ex-Duck alive and kicking -- in Berlin

Matt Evensen enjoys life experience in German league


by: COURTESY OF MATT EVENSEN - Matt Evensen, a former PIL all-leaguer in football and soccer at Franklin High, is kicking and punting for the Berlin Rebels of the German Football League.Just as he was with the Oregon Ducks, Matt Evensen has been sehr gut on the drei-zeigers this season.

The 26-year-old from Franklin High is booting field goals, extra-points, kickoffs and punts for the Berlin Rebels of the German Football League.

The money isn’t great, but the opportunity has been.

“It’s been fun living in Europe for free, going to different cities and playing in their stadiums,” he says. “The fans are wild and enthusiastic about the sport. Obviously, we’re in Europe, so American football takes a back seat to soccer. But the sport is definitely growing in popularity.”

Evensen ended his UO career in 2008 as the Ducks’ sixth all-time scorer (202 points), was tied for seventh in field goals (32) and was well-known for the depth of his kickoffs.

After graduating from Oregon, Evensen tried out for some United Football League teams and played a season of arena football. He also played on the Portland Monarchs semipro team last season. Meanwhile, he created an online profile which helped him connect with teams in Europe. A Rebels coach emailed him with an invite to play for them in 2012.

The team is finishing an up-and-down season (5-6-1 so far), and the Rebels were bounced from playoff contention Saturday when the Dusseldorf Panthers (7-5-1) kicked a field goal on their final drive to gain a 29-29 tie. The seven-hour bus ride home wasn’t so happy for the Berliners.

Evensen is leading the 16-team league in field goals, with 16 made out of 21 attempts, including a GFL 1 (the first tier) record 57-yarder. He hasn’t missed inside 50 yards. The 6-2, 195-pounder also leads the league with 29 touchbacks on kickoffs, and is No. 1 in net yards per punt.

Most of the fields are converted from soccer to football, “often with riot cages surrounding them, to keep the soccer hooligans off the field,” Evensen says.

Each team is allowed to have no more than two Americans on the field at one time. Evensen is one of five U.S. players on the Rebels.

“There are a lot of individually talented players over here,” he says. “That being said, it’s a step down from when I was at Oregon. But I still kick field goals through the same size uprights and kick off from the 30-yard line, so the minor drop in competition doesn’t affect my job that much.”

Evensen says he has learned a few words and sayings in German, and that the language hasn’t been a major problem. “There are a lot of friendly people here, and they speak English commonly,” he says. “The coaches do address the team in German, but if it’s really important it will be translated for me. All the coaches speak English as well.”

Evensen likes the high-speed autobahn system. “Wish I had a car over here to drive,” he says.

Ditto for the beer gardens. “A half-liter of Pilsner and a giant pretzel or white bratwurst does the trick,” he says.

The league season had a three-week break, and Evensen used the time to visit Italy with friends. “I plan on doing some more traveling at the end of the season,” he says.

Then he’ll return to the states and pursue other football opportunities, “and watch the Ducks, of course.”

He was able to see only highlights of Oregon’s season-opening victory over Arkansas State on Saturday, as the Rebels were busing back to Berlin while the Ducks were en route to their 57-34 victory.

“They looked pretty explosive in those uni’s,” he says.

Cal Poly senior QB Andre Broadous, from Grant High, was named Big Sky offensive player of the week after a 41-14 road victory Saturday over San Diego. Broadous rushed for 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns while hitting 12 of 19 passes for 135 yards and two more scores.

Cal sophomore Brennan Scarlett, from Central Catholic, had 12 tackles, one for loss, and a forced fumble as a starting outside linebacker as the Bears lost 31-24 to visiting Nevada on Saturday.

It was four tackles and one sack for UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa, the junior defensive end from David Douglas High, in last week’s 49-28 win at Rice.

Which University of Portland soccer player is going to end up with more goals — Amanda Frisbie or Steven Evans? Frisbie had a Danielle Foxhoven-like four strikes (in 48 minutes) in a 5-0 win last week over Fresno State; the West Coast Conference co-player of the week has four in five outings for the 4-1-0 Pilot women. Evans, the outright men’s WCC player of the week, has four goals in four games for the 2-1-1 Pilots.

Daniel Winn, a redshirt sophomore from Cleveland High, placed third for Oregon, which went 1-2-3 in the Pier Park Invitational cross-country meet on Saturday.

New Mexico State defensive lineman Donte Savage, from Jefferson High, helped turn the momentum by blocking a PAT try last Thursday, and the Aggies went on to beat visiting Sacramento State 49-19 in their opening game.

Jaklyn Wheeler, a 6-0 junior transfer from Oregon, leads the 3-4 PSU volleyball team in kills with 4.23 per game (.254 hitting).

Big tournament win for the Portland Pilots in volleyball last week, beating Idaho State, Tennessee State and UNLV (all in five sets) to claim the Nike Portland Invitational. Junior Autumn Weden (tourney MPV) and senior Ariel Usher (also all-tournament) paced the Pilots.

Warner Pacific sophomore Alberto Casas tallied twice as the Knights (2-1) beat Pacific 3-1 Friday at David Douglas High.

Happy birthday

Sept. 8, 1956 — 

Maurice Cheeks (age 56)

Sept. 11, 1983 — 

Jacoby Ellsbury (age 29)

Sept. 7, 1988 — 

Kevin Love (age 24)

Sept. 8, 1992 — 

Nino Niederreiter (age 20)

This day in Oregon sports history

Sept. 6, 1998 — Danielle Ammaccapane wins the

LPGA Safeway at Columbia-Edgewater, but part of the story is a 20-year-old rookie sensation from South Korea, Se Ri Pak. She tied for 21st. Nine years later, Pak was in both the LPGA Tour and World Golf halls of fame.

Sept. 9, 2000 — Coach Tim Walsh’s Portland State football team visits Hawaii and wins 45-20 before a crowd of 50,000. The Vikings go on to make their only NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearance after an 8-3 regular season.

Sept. 9, 2002 — An online story in Montreal says the Expos could move to Portland, with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen as owner. The Blazers deny that Allen and the Expos have been in negotiations.

Tweets of the week

Ooooooweeeeeeeeeeee them Oregon unis are lookin sweet!!

— Jonathan Stewart, @Jonathanstewar1

Oregon Ducks are the coolest looking team in the country and we are better than last year yes!!

— Robert Garrigus,

@robertgarrigus

Mariota is the real deal for the Ducks.

— Rich Brooks, @UKcoachbrooks

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Twitter: @sbrandonsports