Pioneer to take his football talents to South America
By Jim Walsh

Phil Breidall’s football career has, until now, been confined to southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

He played high school ball at Pine Island and spent a semester at Upper Iowa University, before transferring to Rochester Community and Technical College in 2007. Later, he became a defensive stalwart at linebacker for Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, before joining the St. Paul Pioneers this spring.

Now, though, Breidall’s life is going to become a lot more worldly. The Pioneers’ leading tackler is leaving the cozy confines of the United States to start his latest football journey in Brazil. Yes, Brazil. And it is not to play futbol – or soccer – but American football for the Jaraqua Breakers.  He leaves this week for the land of Carnival, Salsa dancing and the Amazon.

It was an opportunity, his Pioneers teammates and coaches say, that was too good to pass up.

“We are extremely excited for Phil,” said Pioneers head coach Mark Heiser. “He is an outstanding football player and we wish him the best of luck with his professional football career.”

Breidall earned the opportunity to expand his football horizons by attending a recent combine in Denver, Colo., sponsored by EuroStopWatch, an organization that works to connect football players with teams around the world – but primarily in Europe. Breidall did well at the combine and even thought he was in line to sign with a team in Germany.

“It came down to me and another guy,” Breidall said. “They chose the other guy.”

But that did not mean the 5-10, 220 pound weak side linebacker fell off the radar screen. Only a couple weeks after finding out that Germany wasn’t an option, Breidall was told about the Brazil opportunity. After playing for the next several months in the Southern Hemisphere, Breidall said it is possible that he could sign with a team in Austria to continue his professional career in Europe.

The Breakers are paying Breidall, as well as covering his living expenses, while he is in Brazil.

Not bad for a kid from tiny Pine Island, a small town a few miles north of Rochester.

Breidall said he will miss his teammates and coaches on the Pioneers, a team he praised for its winning tradition and family atmosphere.

“I have loved playing for the Pioneers. They are a lot of talented players and good guys,” he said. “It’s a really fun team and we play at a really high level.”

He promised that he will someday return to the cardinal and black – when his professional career comes to an end. Until then, though, the Pine Island kid with a degree in Physical Education said he wants to ride the football-for-pay wave for as long as he is able.

“I’m not really sure what I want to do with my life someday,” he said of a future career. “I’m going to try to ride [football] out as long as I can.”