Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight.
Slava Belov grew up surrounded by many sports, but AFL was not one of them.
Always eager to watch ball sports like rugby and American football, Slava found his real passion in 2012 when visiting Australia.
Curious about the Australian game, Slava attended a NAB Cup game and from his first moments of seeing the sport live at Etihad Stadium, he was completely hooked.
Moving to study in London in 2013, Slava found out about the AFL London league, later joining the West London Wildcats and he was excited to finally play the sport that he loved to watch.
Since then, Slava has improved his skills in the game and selflessly wants to share his passion to help others join the AFL Europe community.
“I think my marking ability is quite good and I am not much an athlete so I see my role in the footy community to promote and inspire the game for other people.”
Moving back to his home land of Russia, Slava wanted to continue his new passion and share it with the locals.
In 2014 this dream became a reality when he founded the St Petersburg Cats, who are becoming an exciting club and continually growing thanks to Slava and his teammates.
“I’m so grateful to have made friends and loved ones who are now a part of the club life. My girlfriend Nastia keeps the statistics at the St.Petersburg AFL matches. It makes it much easier to keep the balance and I urge clubs around Europe to get as many people they can involved as it creates a real family environment.”
Along the way, Slava has also travelled to the US and played in the USAFL Finals, having a great time improving his own game for the Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids in 2016.
Proud of his country and heritage, the pinnacle of Slava’s career has been being able to represent his country at an international tournament.
Representing the Russian Bears in some of AFL Europe’s major tournaments has been a real highlight and his efforts to get this team up and running have been phenomenal.
“I would say that scoring for the national team is big thing for me. Playing on the highest possible level on two continents, Europe and America, makes me feel great. And to see that the sport that I started five years ago in my home town is growing and flourishing is an amazing feeling!”
Now known as a football nomad having played and promoted the game all across the world, Slava Belov really is what AFL Europe stands for and his work to grow the game has been exceptional.
Special thanks to Belushi’s for helping grow the game in Europe
Liam McAllion – AFL Europe