A dream of playing American football in America turned into an experience Swiss foreign exchange student Alain Bouquet didn’t expect and won’t forget.


A dream of playing American football in America turned into an experience Swiss foreign exchange student Alain Bouquet didn’t expect and won’t forget.

“The boys (his teammates) told me I would like the home games with all the people, cheerleaders and fireworks,” said Bouquet. “I had a picture of what it would be like, but it was bigger than what I expected.

“I’ve been a lot of places, but here everyone was so excited for the start of the football season when I arrived.”

Bouquet is from St. Gallen, Switzerland and is the son of Liliane Eberle and Beat Bouquet. His host parents while he is in Geneseo are Dan and Betsy Brudos.

Bouquet said his desire to play American football began in 2008 when a friend, who played American football in Switzerland, took him to a game.

He later joined the team as a back up and began learning the rules.

“In Switzerland, you always see talent from one or two players, but here you see talent from the whole team,” Bouquet said.

When Bouquet arrived at his first practice he admits he was pretty nervous, but said everyone was nice and welcoming from the start and helped him learn the plays.

“It is an amazing feeling to be part of a family,” he said of the football team.

“It is amazing,” said Bouquet of the atmosphere at Geneseo games. “The highest amount of people I played in front of before was 800, but here the whole town supports you. Here you hear your name from people you don’t even know.”

Bouquet saw his first action on the Geneseo gridiron early this season when he received his first carry.

“The first time I played in a game I was extremely nervous with all those people watching,”?he said. “It was an amazing feeling, but in the end football is football.”

When comparing playing football in Switzerland to playing at Geneseo, Bouquet said the game is the same, but in Geneseo the team practices more.

“Back home no one knows football so you play for yourself,” he said. “But here you play for the town.

“The coaches have been great, and I appreciate that they never lost belief in me and gave me playing time. I see how I have progressed from the beginning.”

Bouquet, a senior at GHS, said he never had any difficulties becoming accustomed to a new language.

When it came to starting school in a new place, Bouquet said joining the football team helped him a lot because he already knew some people.

“I didn’t feel like I wouldn’t be welcomed,” he said. “And going to other sporting events was kind of new because there are no school sports back home, just club sports.”

Bouquet’s trip to Geneseo marks his first school experience in the U. S. and he said football was a big draw.

“I am happy with my decision and it was the best thing that could have happened,” he said.

“When I heard I was coming to Geneseo I spent the whole night on the Internet researching and the first thing I saw was about Green?Machine football, which made me very happy.

“I’ve learned a lot more than I thought I would,” he said. “All the guys have played football since they were little and all have experience so everyone could help me.

“I never thought I would come to this type of tradition. I thought maybe I would see one play on the field, but a lot of players are able to play here.”

Bouquet also plans to try wrestling this winter season.

After the school year is over Bouquet will return to Switzerland where he plans to continue his education and would like to eventually work in real estate.

“What I will take away from being in Geneseo is the support,” said Bouquet. “Everyone knows each other and supports each other.

“I will take away a team feeling from being a part of the football team. Whether you mess up or score a touchdown, we stay together and we fall together.”