Spotlight On...

American Football is booming in the North West of England as the Lancashire Academy of American Football continues to go from strength to strength

2010 saw another year of excellent progress on the field for the Lancashire Academy of American Football, with six teams participating in league football from their bases in Blackburn, Chorley, Burnley and Standish. Additional success was achieved by the Lancashire Wolverine Colts (Youth Contact) and Chorley Buccaneers (Junior Contact) who both represented the Academy in Worcester at the National Finals. During the year, the Academy forged links with local university setups, including several coaches now involved with the Lancaster Bombers as well as several players representing both Lancaster and the Wolverines.

Furthering the on-field success, the Academy had a strong presence in the Great Britain teams, with several players and coaches involved in the National Programmes for Senior, Youth and Flag.

Off the field, community integration was high on the agenda for the Academy. The Buccaneers ran a hugely successful second instalment of their Touchdown project, an initiative requested by Chorley Council. The project saw the coaching staff of the Buccaneers run a series of sessions at the leisure centre with local children and was backed by a grant for flag football equipment obtained by the council. Following the success of this project, a further instalment has been scheduled for Easter this year.

Other community projects have taken place over the course of the year including school based taster sessions in Manchester and Wigan, with demand increasing, demonstrating the increasingly mainstream nature and popularity of the sport. The Academy has established strong relationships with the county’s Sports Development Officers as a result and this is in addition to the Academy’s progress on achieving Clubmark, which will be completed in 2011. From a funding point of view, the Wolverines Colts have been successful with a grant to provide kit for the team from Sport England and the Burnley Tornadoes have had success with several grants from local and national sources.

Coaching plays a large part in the Academy culture. As part of this the club have developed an internal Coach Development Plan which is currently undergoing trials before rolling out throughout the teams. The aim of this is to educate new and experienced coaches as they develop their coaching careers. The Coach Development Plan provides the opportunity for coaches to learn from mentors and develop and progress through the coaching ranks.

The Coach Development Plan is of course additional to the training and qualifications available through the Coaches Association, BAFCA. The Academy supports BAFCA activities wherever possible, including Wolverines Defensive Co-ordinator, Simon Purcell, using his spare time to organise an annual North West BAFCA Coaching Clinic. This event has been a great success with a host of coaching experts passing on their experience, including Academy coaches Paul Day and Paul Horsburgh.

Outside the football arena, long time Academy member Paul Mather, who also founded the Chorley Buccaneers back in 2000, has been doing his part for charity with a series of mountain climbs around the country in aid of the National Autistic Society. Coupled with playing both offensive and defensive line throughout the season, it’s safe to say Paul was in good shape in 2010!

Academy Chairman, Greg Adam, had the following to say of the Academy’s progress in 2010:

“I’m extremely proud to be involved with an organisation with such a strong foundation. 2010 has been an amazing year to be involved in American Football in Lancashire and with the plans we have in place for 2011 this year could be even better. As an Academy we have a strong committee who are involved in implementing a five year plan to improve the offering we provide to our current players, coaches, staff and the wider community in Lancashire.

Everyone involved in the Academy has put in a lot of work in the last few years to get us to where we are now and I feel we’re in an excellent position to build further success on the field and in the local community. We’re looking to build a strong brand that everyone involved can identify with from players to spectators, and we’re well on the way to achieving this.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Lancashire Academy of American Football please visit the Academy website at or contact Chairman, Greg Adam, at The Academy is always looking for people to get involved, so if you’re interested in seeing how you can contribute, please get in touch.