2022 International Games

2022 International Games

The GSL has announced five international series games to be played outside of the normal home countries of the league’s 32 teams, of the United States and Canada. Last season, the league played three games internationally, in London, England, Berlin, Germany, and Mexico City Mexico. These three sites will return for the 2022 season, along with two new sites; Tokyo, Japan, and Rome, Italy.

The 2022 international series begins with the expansion New York CityHawks taking on the Miami Sol in Berlin, Germany. The CityHawks will be looking to make a name for themselves in their first season on the world stage. Being a team from New York, the CityHawks should already have a good fan base behind them, being a team from one of the largest US markets. The Sol are coming off an up and down season that saw them fall just short of the playoffs after making a 4-1 run to end the season. We’ll see if the player re-allocation to support expansion helps or hurts them this coming season.

The second international game will take us half way across the globe to Tokyo, Japan. The Seattle Sockeyes finished the 2021 season as the first team out of the playoffs in the Western Conference, but at 9-9, they were never really considered a contender at any point in the year. They face off against new divisional rivals, the Portland Samurais. The Samurais are one of two returning teams from last season who’ve decided to relocate. After a lackluster year in Dallas, filled with stadium conflicts, the Diesel headed off to Portland to try their luck on the west coast.

The GSL makes its return to London this season, featuring the Salt Lake Trappers, who will be making their debut in the regular season as a GSL team in 2022. Last season, the Trappers were brought into the league after the start of the season, but in an exhibition capacity, as the league worked through improvements to the game. The Trappers will be facing off against the Wisconsin Stags, who were one of the 5 Eastern Conference teams to finish 9-9. The Stags were yet another team who just couldn't quite put things together, and were also victim to a division that didn’t field a team with a losing record in 2021.

Another one of the league’s 7 expansion teams will be featured in an international game, with the Vancouver Bears heading to Rome, Italy to take on the Oakland Icons. The GSL had to take the liberty of coming up with a temporary helmet design for the Bears for the game poster, as the Bears haven’t even been finalized as a team, and are still without an owner at this point. Hopefully the team on the field will be much more organized by the time they hit the field. The Icons in the 2021 season certainly were. Benefiting from a weak division, the Icons didn’t have much trouble claiming the Pacific Division title in 2021. Their fortunes ended with a swift playoff exit in a blowout loss in the divisional round. We’ll see how this team responds in the coming season.

The final international game of the 2022 season will return to Mexico City. Last year's garbage disposal, the Atlanta Flying Fleet, are hoping for a much more fruitful 2022 campaign. Maybe with some help from the player re-allocation for the 2022 season, Atlanta may field a respectable team this year. The Flying Fleet will be taking on the San Antonio Texans, who had quite a good season last year, which ended with a loss to the eventual Gridiron Bowl champion Eagles in the divisional round.

The future of the GSL international series looks bright, with plans to branch out to new cities in 2023. We’re all hoping for some good games ahead in 2022.

Austin Snelick
October 29, 2021