At Tales From Sport, we believe in giving athletes the platform to tell their stories first-hand. Of course, fans of any sports will always have their own opinion on what a players greatest moment was, but does that player feel the same? Or is there another, more personal moment that stands above all others?
In this series, we will be asking professional athletes from various sports one simple question, What do you consider the greatest moment of your career?
In the fifth edition of this series, Professional American Football player Aaron Ellis joins us to share his answer.
‘My Greatest Moment in Sport’ by Aaron Ellis
When it comes to memorable times in my career, I have quite a few amazing moments, but the two that stick out the most are during my time in college and my first win in the ELF against the Kings.
I played at a D2 school called Saint Joseph college. I was the backup there for three years until my school shut down for financial reasons. I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship offer from Coach Curry to play at the University of St. Francis for my last two years of eligibility. Unfortunately, they had a four-year starter in his final season when I arrived, so I had to take on the backup role to start the season.
During the 2nd game of the year, the starter tore his hamstring during the game, I went in with the last few minutes in the game and threw four passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. After that, I was given the starter role for the last seven games of the season. In this time, I was a First-Team All-Conference player with three fewer games than everyone else, 4th in the country in passing efficiency, was voted a FAF All-American. We were so close to a conference championship but unfortunately lost by two points. That year is the favourite part of my football career. Going from being a backup for three years to be first-team all-conference and 4th in the country was a huge accomplishment and a memory I’ll cherish forever.
The second most memorable moment of my career was beating the Leipzig Kings in my 2nd game of the ELF. For those that do not know, I came into the season late for the Stuttgart Surge. They released their previous QB, and I landed in the country on a Friday and had to play against Berlin that weekend with zero reps and no time learning the playbook. The Kings game started rough as I threw a pick-six, but we just kept battling. I threw the game-winning touchdown with one minute left in the 4th quarter to my tight end David Meza. It was such an amazing experience to share that with our amazing fans. I am blessed to be playing the game I love in the ELF.
Aaron Ellis Biography
Aaron Ellis is an American Quarterback who currently plays for the Stuttgart Surge in the European League of Football. The athletic 6’3″, 215 lbs player has made a name for himself in Europe as one of the most intelligent pocket passer. He has the ability to go through his reads quickly before often finding the right option with his strong arm and exceptional passing talents. The 25-year-old hails from Valparaiso, a town in northern Indiana located near the Chicago area. Naturally, being so close to the Windy City, Ellis grew up as a Chicago Bears fan.
Ellis’ College Football career started in his home state, competing for the Division II school Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana. The young Quarterback spent three years as the Puma’s backup. Despite not playing in the games, his hard work in training did not go unnoticed. In addition, he was also able to showcase his character and leadership abilities outside of football by participating in a Habitat For Humanity project.
Unfortunately, due to financial reasons, Saint Joseph’s College was forced to shut down in 2017. Thankfully, this did not spell the end of Ellis’ college career, as he was offered a scholarship to play at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, for his last two years of eligibility. In his almost two full seasons as the starting quarterback, he completed 153 out of 283 pass attempts while throwing for 2,380 yards and 27 touchdowns. His outstanding performances were impressive enough to earn him First-Team All-Conference and FAF All-American honours.
After Ellis’ final season at the University of St. Francis, he found himself at a crossroads. The Quarterback had an offer to go to Europe and play in Austria, but he was also going through an appeal to get another year of eligibility at college. When it looked likely that the appeal would be successful, the Indiana native decided to stay in the United States and return to college.
However, Ellis’ plans changed once again. While going through Spring practice, Mark White, the Head Coach of Danish National Ligaen side the Frederikssund Oaks, reached out to the Quarterback. Ellis admitted that he had made a mistake by choosing to go back to college. Instead, it was time to take the next step in his football career. So, just two weeks after initial contact, Ellis officially signed with the Frederikssund Oaks in April 2019.
Ellis started his European journey incredibly well. As the Oaks’ Quarterback, he threw for 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns while also rushing for 487 yards. Unfortuantly, Ellis’ career took yet another unexpected twist as his time in Demark was abruptly ended. The Frederikssund Oaks was forced to withdraw from the Danish National Ligaen just five games into the 2019 season due to a lack of players.
After leaving the Oaks, Ellis continued to pursue his Football dream by attending tryouts with multiple Arena Football organisations in the United States and contacting as many teams as possible to get his name out there. Although the Quarterback had plenty of interest from numerous leagues and teams from various countries, Ellis decided to return to Europe to join the Czech League of American Football side Ostrava Steelers for the 2020 season, signing in November 2019. The new American Head Coach of the Stealers, Lonnie Hursey, wanted to bring in a Quarterback he could trust to lead the team’s offence to elevate them to the next level, with Ellis being his top target.
For the third time in Ellis’ Football career, forces outside of his control disrupted and derailed the Quartertback’s plans. Before the former Oak could play a competitive game for his new side, the COVID-19 global pandemic forced the Czech League of American Football to be suspended. With the Czech government not taking any work visas because of the pandemic, it eventually became too difficult for the American to get back into the country to play. So, despite wanting to finish what he had started with the Steelers, Ellis had no choice but to bid farewell to Ostrava.
After departing Ostrava, the next stop in Ellis’ rollercoaster career saw him return to Denmark. This time, the former University of St. Francis player suited up for the Søllerød Gold Diggers, signing for the team in late 2020.
After the Gold Diggers were left with an unexpected Quarterback vacancy, a front office member suggested that Ellis would be the ideal candidate to lead their offence. The Indiana native impressed the Gold Diggers staff when he played against them for the Frederikssund Oaks. As a result, the team reached out to the former FAF All-American to inquire about his availability. Ellis was placed on a shortlist with ten other potential Quarterbacks, but eventually, the 2010 National Ligaen Champions offered him a contract.
Ellis made his debut for the Gold Diggers on 5th June 2021 in a 28-6 triumph against the AaB 89ers. His second game was against the power-houses of Danish Football, the Copenhagen Towers. Ellis led his team to a remarkable underdog victory, toppling the Towers 36-30 and ending their historic four-year regular-season unbeaten run. However, despite starting the season strongly and achieving this incredible accomplishment, this was the final time the Quarterback played for Søllerød.
Ellis was bizarrely and abruptly released from his contract by the Søllerød Gold Diggers. While no official statement was ever officially released by the team, it has been speculated that this decision resulted from internal fighting between Gold Diggers’ staff members. Supposedly, some within the club wanted to use a homegrown Quarterback/Running Back instead of an imported one, which ultimately resulted in the American’s seemingly random departure. So, once again, a decision out of his control had interfered with Ellis’ career.
Following his mysterious departure from the Søllerød Gold Diggers, Ellis joined the Finnish team Rovaniemi Nordmen. However, he was a member of their roster for four days. After learning about the European League Of Football’s Stuttgart Surge releasing their Quarterback due to disciplinary reasons, Ellis reached out to the team’s Head Coach Martin Hanselmann to offer his availability and willingness to fill the vacant position.
Less than three hours after the Quarterback made the initial contact, Hanselmann wanted to sort out an agreement with the former Gold Digger after being impressed by his tape. Following receiving advice from his mentors and family, Ellis decided to leave Rovaniemi before stepping onto the field with them to join the Surge. Joining a league with a far more extensive reach was too big of an opportunity to pass up.
Ellis’ first game for Stuttgart came just a number of days after landing in the city. The former Oak could only get one training session under his belt before the Surge took on the Berlin Thunder at the Amateurstadion Olympiapark in Berlin. Despite the lack of preparation, Ellis not only played in the game but incredibly threw for a 33-yard touchdown with his first pass. Unfortunately, the Surge ended up on the losing side of the game, but the Indiana native will certainly never forget his first touchdown in the European League of Football. It did not take too long for Ellis to record his first win with his German side, defeating the Leipzig Kings the following week 27–24, with the Quarterback throwing the game-winning touchdown to Tight End David Meza with under five minutes left on the clock.
As of writing this article, Ellis has thrown for 1,040 yards and eight touchdowns in his six games for Stuttgart. He possesses a 51% completion rate and averages 173.3 yards in the air per game.
An enormous thank you to Aaron Ellis for contributing to this article. He has been fantastic to work with and a genuinely great guy. We really appreciate the effort he put into this and for supporting our site.
If you are interested in watching him play, sign up for the European League of Football Season Pass or Game Pass on their website, europeanleague.football
Ellis will next be in action THIS SUNDAY, as his Stuttgart Surge take on the Cologne Centurions at 4pm BST/5pm CET/11am EST.