Phillip Gamble a football star in Germany

Published 12:16 pm Friday, August 9, 2013


Photo by Mark Harris for Bielefield Bulldogs |

Former Bainbridge Bearcat Phillip Gamble is continuing to play well with the Bielefield, Germany Bulldogs’ American football team.

Last year, the Bulldogs had an undefeated regular season, with a record of 16 wins, no losses, and they also advanced to the second round of the playoffs of the 3rd division of German pro football. Gamble, whose jersey number is 2, plays at tailback.

This year, the Bulldogs were promoted to the German second division and have a record of eight wins and only one loss, which puts them in first place among eight teams.

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“We’re playing good, if we keep it up we could get promoted to the first division and have a chance to play in the German Bowl, which is kind of like the Super Bowl here,” said Gamble, who graduated from Bainbridge High School in 2004.

Through nine games this season, Gamble has 371 yards rushing, 216 yards receiving and six touchdowns. He is the team’s second leading scorer on what is primarily a passing team and also handles some kick returns.

For Gamble, who played college football with the Marshall Thundering Herd, playing professionally in Germany has been a great way to continue his playing career as well as help grow the popularity of American football in Germany, where soccer is by far the dominant pastime.

“We have five Americans on my team, and the league rule is that only two American players per team can be on the field at the same time,” Gamble said.

That’s taken some getting used to, but Gamble has picked up some German phrases and is teaching business English as a side job, along with other American players.

Gamble has also played with an ambassador team out of Jacksonville, Fla., whose mission was to show off American football around Europe. Last fall, he also played for the American team in the Euro-American challenge, an exhibition game played before tens of thousands of fans in Warsaw, Poland.

Gamble was a star running back at BHS, where he also played basketball and ran track. He originally committed to play college football with Auburn University, but settled on Marshall. But because the Thundering Herd already had a standout running back, Gamble was put at safety and then later at linebacker, where he played solid.

Phillip’s brother is Darryl Gamble, a star linebacker at BHS and with the University of Georgia Bulldogs who also played one year with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.

“Darryl still wants to play in the NFL if he can get a shot,” older brother Phillip said. “He’s trying to get healthy again after a leg injury last year.”

As for Phillip, he’s enjoying Germany but said he hopes his success may earn him a spot in the Canadian football league.

Both Gamble brothers have career plans after their time on the gridiron is done.

Phillip has a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Marshall; and a master’s degree in business management from Marshall. He said he hopes to become a high school football coach someday.

“I think it would mean a lot to me to help keep kids out of trouble and maybe give them a chance to play in college like I did.”

Darryl has a bachelor’s degree in housing from UGA and also has some interest in coaching.