Former Dickinson State quarterback Hayden Gibson spent his final semester of college student teaching and trying to get his passport.
He was set to leave the country for the first time ever in early April as he was going to go to Germany and play in a professional football league this summer.
The groundwork for this opportunity began over the winter on Facebook as the coach of the Burghausen Crusaders reached out to him.
“Their coach reached out to me through Facebook in December,” Gibson said. “Right away, I didn’t think much of it and I didn’t think I was going to do it, but the coach was a cool guy and I think he knew a lot about football and it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up on. I agreed to go and the whole coronavirus pandemic started. Now I am staying here for the summer.”
One reason the opportunity was so appealing was because Gibson planned on getting his masters this fall and coaching at Dickinson State, and this league was over the summer meaning he would be back by August.
He was going to experience a completely different side of the world and culture, but he was also going to be doing some coaching. While he was set to be the starting quarterback for the Crusaders, they have youth leagues affiliated with professional programs in Europe and he was going to help out with those programs in addition to playing.
“I was going to be the only American on the team,” he said. “The other quarterback reached out to me and said he was going to be my backup this summer. That was a little weird, because over here it is all about competition and competing for spots. I think it is a little different over there in that sense.”
Being the only American, there were other players coming from countries like Australia and Italy, but the one question that came to mind for him from the very beginning was the language barrier.
“That was one of the first questions I asked. He told me that almost everyone on the team spoke English,” Gibson said. “The playbook was in English and the coach even spoke English very well. We sat on the phone for hours some days talking about football. That was part of the reason I wanted to go over there is because the coach is a great guy.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic derailed Gibson’s plans of seeing the world and playing in a professional football league, the door isn’t totally closed.
“He did offer me to come back next year,” he said. “We will see where I am coming up after the football season. My main focus right now is coaching and trying to get in the flow of things in that sense. If I feel like I want to do it and it doesn’t affect my future next summer, then we’ll see.”