Do you watch the NFL and ever thought about trying your hand at playing American Football? Well, the South Wales Warriors are stepping up their recruitment ahead of the new season by hosting four tryout days through January and February.
After a disappointing 2017 season where the Warriors failed to pick up a single win, the team will begin their recruitment drive on January 14th at Merthyr RFC before moving on to Morriston Leisure Centre on January 21st, Newport Velodrome on January 28th and moving on to Cardiff International Sports Campus on February 4th to wrap things up.
The Warriors voluntarily dropped out of British American Footballs top flight for the 2017 season to focus on building for the future, and this latest recruitment drive is another step in creating a more sustainable squad as they look to turn their fortunes around.
When the side dropped out of the top flight, head coach Geraint Roberts said “Although it has been a very difficult decision to relinquish our position in the top division of UK Football, I am very positive that it is a decision that will benefit us in the long run.
“We are embarking on our second year of junior football in the BACL, and have also added a younger age group this year. We are also working within local schools and have good links with our local Universities. Essentially it is our aim to build an actual football programme in South Wales with progression from the younger age groups, and not solely be a senior team that relies on annual recruitment to subsidise our playing numbers.”
Interest for the tryouts is already high with numbers of potential players already signed up to the team’s recruitment page on Facebook.
One thing the Warriors struggled with most last season was the offensive side of their game, in their 10-game season they managed to get just 56 points while conceding 196 on the year which was about average for the five-team league.
The season started with a bit of promise as the team kept the scores relatively close at home, starting the year with a narrow 14 – 12 loss against the Ouse Valley Eagles, before a 13 – 6 loss against the Oxford Saints and then 14 – 8 loss against the Sussex Thunder.
It turned sour after the team opened with a three-game homestand as they then played the next five games on the road, being held off the scoreboard, with their biggest loss coming at the hands of Oxford in game eight of the season as they were hammered 42 – 0, thanks in large part to running back and GB International James Walter running in for three touchdowns on the day.
Since the team’s formation in 2001, they’ve gone winless twice with both times coming since 2015. In the 2015 season they failed to pick up a point in 8 games, but now with the new season, and potentially a whole host of new players coming into the roster, coach Roberts and the team will be hoping this season sees the team progress forward and battle for promotion back to Division 1.
After the team finish up their recruitment days, they’ll return to Y Pant Comprehensive School in Pontyclun for their scheduled training sessions ahead of the new season that gets underway later in 2018.
Feature Picture Credit: Ollie Hampson