First Russian Far East American Football Championship

"Wild Pandas" fans.
Coach talking to football players.
Bobby Rome instructs players before the game start-up.

On September 26 Lokomotiv stadium in Khabarovsk hosted an historical event – the final of the first ever Far Eastern American Football Championship. In a series of games promoting this uniquely American sport, Russian-American partnerships and a healthy lifestyle were on display. The games were organized by the Khabarovsk American Football Federation and sponsored by U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok. Vladivostok’s “Wild Pandas” defeated Khabarovsk’s “Legio 27” in a competitive, hard-hitting final match and, as observers and media reports noted, the Pandas’ success in part could be attributed to the leadership of American coach Bobby Rome, whom the team managed to hire a year ago. The championship games altogether attracted several thousand enthusiastic fans and were covered by regional TV and online media organizations. The Consulate’s grant also helped five teams from Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Komsomolsk-na-Amure, and Yakutia acquire equipment, from goal posts to team training equipment, essential for further development of American football in the Russian Far East and establishing a robust, economically viable, self-sustaining regional league while also attracting younger Russians to take up the sport.