We highlight the surging popularity of American Football at UK universities, and how several institutions are helping to shape the future of the sport at the national level.
American Football has seen a remarkable rise in popularity across the United Kingdom in recent years, captivating an increasing number of students.
The level of talent within the UK University American Football scene is truly impressive. With over 4,000 students competing weekly for more than 80 different university teams, the sport thrives on the enthusiasm and dedication of these student-athletes.
What sets the UK apart is not only the growing passion for the sport but also the depth of talent found within the university-level American Football teams.
The rise in talent has been so impressive that numerous players from UK universities have been selected to represent Team Great Britain (GB), showcasing the UK’s prowess in this beloved sport.
We had the privilege of speaking with Jason Scott, current Head Coach of the University of Nottingham and Team Great Britain, who shed light on the outstanding representation of current UK university student-athletes in the national squad.
University of Nottingham Head Coach
Team GB Head Coach since 2020
15 years coaching at university and senior levels in the UK, and five years NCAA experience as well.
Follow Coach Jason on Instagram.
Did you know that there are currently 39 UK university alumni representing Team Great Britain?
The representation of current and former UK university players within the GB squad is a testament to the exceptional talent nurtured within the university American Football system.
With 31 out of the 39 players being current university students and coming from a combined 27 different institutions across the country, the university system continues to produce players with strong fundamentals, superior fitness levels, and an understanding of the game’s intricacies, making them valuable assets to the national team.
“University American Football – I believe – is the strongest, and most competitive American Football in the UK at the moment. We’re actively looking to get younger players on our National Program, and we’re finding that the students have better fundamentals, are fitter and stronger, and have the ability to do what we need them to do, quicker.”
Of current Team GB representatives, it’s the University of Nottingham who leads the way with 10 students, followed by Loughborough University (5) and the University of Derby (3). Nottingham Trent, Leeds Beckett, and current BUCS National Champions UWE each have two members on the team.
With just over a quarter of the 108-man ‘Practice Squad’ being active students and 53% having played some form of University Football, a significant portion of the GB training squad is comprised of current students and former university players.
Above: Joe Hamilton, alumni of University of Birmingham
Above: D’Wayne-Obi, alumni of Coventry University
Almost all of the coaching staff a Team GB began their coaching careers at the university level, with many still coaching University Football at the moment.
A number of players also coach during the University season, including three active University Head Coaches; Sam Bloomfield (UCLAN), Jordan Metcalf (RHU), and Nelson Charles-Nwufoh (Birmingham).
When taking those Universities into consideration, the number of institutions that have influenced the current GB setup swells from 27 to 38.
Above: Leeds Beckett alumni, Chris Winrow and current UoN student, Danylo Szlachetko Blackburn
Above: Current University of Nottingham scholar, Finley Old
Although the final gameday squad is made up of 45 players, the 108-man ‘Practice Squad’ are all taught the techniques and playbooks in case any injuries occur before games are played.
The experience of being selected for the practice squad not only enhances their football knowledge and skills but also propels them towards becoming better football players overall.
With two scheduled fixtures set to take place later this year, Coach Jason Scott and his team will soon be preparing for clashes with France on August 5th and either Serbia or Denmark on October 28th.
“Our University leagues are phenomenal and need to be celebrated!”
The UK University American Football scene stands as a testament to the growing popularity and depth of talent within the sport. The representation of UK university players in the Team GB squad exemplifies the exceptional level of skill and dedication found in these student-athletes.
With top universities offering world-class facilities and coaching, international student-athletes have a remarkable opportunity to be part of this vibrant community while pursuing their academic ambitions.
As the sport continues to thrive and evolve, the future of UK University American Football looks incredibly bright, promising even more opportunities for talented student-athletes to shine on both national and international stages.
Learn more about American Football at the UK university level or register your details for our free service via the links below.
Please follow our social media channels to keep up to date with all things sport related across the Higher Education sector!