FALL RIVER: If it wasn’t for COVID19, a Fall River quarterback may have already been overseas ready to start his second season of pro football in France with Ours de Toulouse.
Cameron Valardo, an alum with the St. Mary’s University and Dragons Football program in Fall River, was looking forward to returning to the club after a shortened season in 2019-2020 due to COVID 19.
However, as it stands right now it doesn’t appear there will be a season this year.
“The relationship between myself and the front office in Toulouse is strong enough that they have extended my contract through 2021-2022 season,” said Valardo. “Hopefully, this virus will be handled well enough by early 2021 that I get to be back on the field in France.”
He spoke about how the opportunity to play in France came about.
“They contacted me on a website called Euro players after they watched my game film,” he explained. “I vetted them through a connection I have named AJ Tufford who spent a few years coaching over in France and Austria.
“With his help I was able to trust the legitimacy of the program.”
He said the team was happy enough with his abilities to re-sign him for a second season.
Valardo, 23, talked about the level of competition in the league that he got to be part of prior to the COVID19 pandemic hitting the world.
“It was amazing,” said the quarterback. “I haven’t had as much fun with a group of guys since high school football.”
He said the level of play is good, but you cannot compare it to the CFL. The CFL is the second highest level of football on the planet.
“France and other countries in Europe are legitimate pro football leagues with many former NFL, CFL and NCAA division 1 athletes participating,” he said.
What’s it like playing a sport he is so passionate about so far from home. Valardo said it can be daunting.
“When you have to leave all your friends and family it can be a bit scary,” he said. “However, I just used it as an opportunity to see the world and continue playing a sport I love.”
He is already watching anxiously for when he can head back to France.
“It was a shame to see my time over there get cut short by the pandemic so I’m counting down the days until I can go back,” said Valardo.
Valardo had some advice for other young football players who may want to get over to Europe/Australia or South America to continue playing sports.
“With the connections I have built not only in France but all over the world now I’d be more then happy to help anyone try and get to the next level,” he said. “Anyone interested in this kind of opportunity can just message me on Instagram under my name.”