American Football in London

A massive sport in the States, Amerian football is beginning to grow in popularity here in London. Check out this YouTube video by CBS Evening News, reporting on the NFL UK 2014 Dolphins vs Raiders at Wembley Stadium. More matches are planned at Wembley in 2015.

The NFL International Series is great for London, and we could be seeing a whole lot more American Football in our capital in the future.

In the States, Superbowl 50 saw the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10. Beyonce provided entertainment with her Black Panther themed Black Power anthem. Peyton Manning was arguably the best player, while Panthers' most expensive player Cam Newton gave a sulky post-match interview.

If you're an American Football coach in London, promote yourself on this page!

Film: Concussion

A must-see for all American Football players, this film was made in 2015, and tells the story of the NFL's cover-up of the risks of concussion-related chronic brain injury. Will Smith plays Dr Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who discovered the link between repeated head impacts by American Football players and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The first case he examined was that of Pittsburgh Steelers' centre Mike Webster, who died homeless and suffering neurological problems. It's an emotional film, and I think the key message is that American Football players have a right to know the risks of repeated concussions.

The London Warriors American Football Team

London Warriors is one of the leading American Football teams in the UK. It caters for seniors and juniors, both male and female.

The women's team completed in the Flag National Championships on 8 November 2014 in Hatfield. In 2013 the National Champions were the Coventry Cougars.

Training Ground: Selhurst Astroturf, Dagnall Park, London SE25 5PH
Home Ground: Streatham & Croydon Rugby Club, 159 Bridstock Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 7JP.
Director of Football: Tony Allen

Designation

Ages (contact)

Ages (flag)

Adult

18 and above

16 and above

Junior

16 to 19

Youth

14 to 16

14 to 16

Cadet

10 to 13

Major achievements:
August 2012 London Warriors Youth Kitted Team won the National Championship.
20 May 2012 London Warriors beat London Blitz 7-3 in Finsbury Park, in their opening meet of the season.
2013 beat London Blitz 26-23 in the finals to become National Champions (BAFACL - community league premiership)
2014 beat London Blitz 10-8 to win the BAFACL championships for the second year running.

London Blitz American Football Team

The biggest rivals to the London Warriors is London Blitz, based at Finsbury Park Athletics Stadium. Their team colours are blue & white.

Head coach: Mark Moss
Team captain: Roderick Bradley (of Gladiators fame, in which he was Spartan in the 2008/9 TV series)

Major achievements:
EFAF Cup Champions 2011, beating Kragujevac Wild Boars (Serbia) 29-7 in the final at Finsbury Park on 2 July 2011.
National Britbowl Champions 2012, beating London Warriors 37-21 at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield.

 

Interview with Josh Clarke, American Football player with the London WarriorsJosh Clarke, American Football player in London

 

So Josh, what's your background and how did you first get into American Football?

Hi Fitness4London. I have been playing sports for 20 years now, at a high competitive standard since the age of 5. During this time I had played nationally in a great variety of sports from Trampolining to Rugby, gaining recognition and invitations for GB trials. Being above average in most sports I became interested in many and couldn't seem to pick one sport! Watching my brother play American Football for Great Britain and experience amazing things touring with them, my interest in American Football was sparked. During a time of injury I was unable to play rugby and took a trip to the London Warriors American Football Team, where I was greeted with great attention, care around my injury and interest in my personal development. From here I continued to play at university, making it into the GB Student Squad, but unfortunately was not lucky enough to play with the team. However during my time at university I played two senior seasons with the East Kent Mavericks, where I was given further trust, confidence and opportunity to develop my skill (particularly from head coach Glenn Lindley). Moving back to London I rejoined the London Warriors with some amazing talent from both the players and coaching staff and I was fortunate to be a part of becoming the second time national champions this season.

 

Which 3 mentors have helped you most in your career so far, and how did they influence your development?

At the top of my list is a joint one - My brother and  Coach Jeff Brown. Seeing my brother be amazingly successful in a variety of sports has been by FAR the most influential aspect of my sporting life and why I started completing at such a young age. Always wanting to be like my brother and one day better than him pushed me greatly; even more so with his support and attendance to my games and trainings, when he was not playing himself! I have always wanted to do him proud. Coach Brown influenced me not by being my coach, but by acting as my second brother. Being the best friend to my brother Coach Brown took an interest in my development of American Football long before I stepped onto the football field for the first time. Constantly asking me about my personal development, instilling confidence and attending my rugby games with subtle points on how to improve, Jeff learnt how to connect with me personally and to this day (along with my brother) knows my potential ability better than I know it for myself. Although this was all received from my brother himself, being backed by Coach Brown made me think that it was more than just family interest; especially when being passed on equipment he used to play during his semi-professional career!

My second influential mentor is Coach Gerry Anderson. Although I have spent the least time with him as a coach/mentor, he was the first coach that I felt took a personal interest to my development in American Football and made me truly believe that I had something to work for and not give up although things went wrong. Though no longer playing for his age group, I still feel I am supported by Coach Gerry (who himself is an amazing, award winning coach and mentor).

My final most influential mentor is Coach Tony Allen. As a mentor, Coach Allen has a much more behind the scenes approach to my development as he does a LOT of work. He has done amazing things for so many people and for the London Warriors! Yet somehow when big things arise, my name still manages to enter his mind. This alone is amazing motivation and to have such a well established coach (see information on other pages) pay close interest to you and stay in contact whilst playing for another team, to check on your personal development, makes you feel they see something special - even more so when they spend one on one time with you and confirm your thoughts! Although not as hands on, if I start to stray or not perform as well as my coaches know I can, Coach TA will always appear, reminding me that I am being watched and he believes I still have a long way to develop, despite naturally being a good player.

 

What kind of training regime do American Football players undergo?

American Football training is a LOT of work. It is not just an aspect of how fast you can run, or how high you can jump. Although these are significant aspects of an individual's skill, training must also develop each player's mental will, knowledge of the game and knowledge of the team they are playing for/against. For this reason a typical American Football training regime involves 5 parts:

  1. Unit training - honing your skills within the unit you play in (e.g. Running back drills)
  2. Playbook - learning your team's plays and putting them into practice
  3. Conditioning - drills to develop the team's game fitness and ability
  4. Game film - analysing your teams pros and cons from previous games/trainings and that of your next opponents; to find their weaknesses and improve on yours
  5. Self-development - training is not done with the team only. A player must take time to hone their skills and self-ability away from training; whether this is done in the gym, in the park or in the classroom, it's got to be done! A good player will be doing all three. If you're not, will you beat the guy/girl who is?

 

Which European country has the biggest American Football culture right now?Josh Clarke, American Football coach in London

I will have to say Germany for two reason. Germany as a country have the most European Federation of American Football (EFAF) championships (8; joint with Austria) as well as the most clubs in the clubs in the history of Eurobowl Championship wins. They won the 2014 championship as a country and when people move from the UK to play in Europe, germany seems to be the place to head, for obvious reasons.

 

How do you see American Football developing in the UK in the next 5 years, and what would you like your role to be?

With development programs such as IFAF world team (http://tiny.cc/IFAF) being run, the evident love and attention for the NFL Wembley games, massive increase in the number of teams in the UK over the last 4 years (not to mention the last 7; start of Wembley games) and with rumours of a European NFL Franchise being developed in the near future, I feel that American Football will continue to grow exponentially in the UK. As for myself, I hope to take my skill and hard work either to Europe to play for at least a short period or America if I am blessed enough to do so. I will always remain coaching and paying close attention to helping young talent who may not have the best opportunities to develop  in their own game.

 

Josh Clarke is also a personal trainer in London, at Fitness First Bishopsgate.