The British American Football Association have shared information about the GB Lions’ preparations for 2019 – set to be a stacked twelve months of action for the flagship National Programme.
This includes details of upcoming training camps and information about their work to expand the number of pathways into the National Team both as a player and a coach:
Following last summer’s 5th place finish in the IFAF European Group A Championships, the GB Lions men’s contact team will soon be returning to the field!
Later this year, the team will take on European opposition for the first time since their trip to Helsinki and we will be aiming to build upon our performances last year.
Head Coach Mike Callan is excited to get back on the field:
“We have a lot to look forward to this year with the revamping of the European Championship qualifications. It’s good to have two games in the pipeline to be able to build off of from last year. We want to make sure that as a team we are building and making the step forward to put us in a position to compete for the next European title.”
National Team Schedule
First step for the Lions is to prepare for the upcoming opponents by holding a series of practices. Players that have previously been involved with the programme will be contacted by the coaching staff and made aware of the upcoming schedule. Recruitment will soon kick off to search for players who can push for spots on the roster. Coach Callan and his staff will be working directly with teams in the National League and University League in order to identify top talent for the National Programme.
The National Team will hold camps on the weekends of March 30/31, July 13/14 with a possible follow update on July 20 and also September 7/8. These will be combined with camps prior to Home and Away fixtures that are likely to be scheduled in September and October respectively.
Pathways for recruitment
BAFA and Coach Callan are looking to open its pathways into recruitment for the National Team. We want to be able to reach out to the Head Coaches around Great Britain to give the best players the chance to compete for a GB Lions place.
The staff are currently scouting and also looking at the current pool of players. However, we want to hear from the coaches. Each coach will receive a link to a Google Form to nominate players from their teams to the National Programme.
This will broaden the scope of player recruitment. Head Coaches will be asked to nominate up to four players (two Offense/two Defense ideally). Players will be contacted via the National Programme to attend a training camp in March.
While each coach may nominate up to four players we are asking that they are selective – players should not be nominated “for the experience” – only genuine GB Lions prospects should be put forward. A good gauge is if the players concerned are not among the best for their position in your Division then they should not be sent forward.
National Teams Commission Lead Kirsty Cavanagh said:
“There has been past criticism that opportunities for the National Teams were not open to all – Coach Callan is addressing that with this initiative. We are relying on Head Coaches to help us by being selective about who they send forward.”
Applications need to be submitted to Coach Callan by noon on 21 February 2019
As well as new players, Coach Callan is looking for new talent to join his staff. After last year, a few of the positional coaches stepped down due to other commitments and so there are positions available for the right candidate. In addition to those specific roles the programme is also looking for assistants to help support the current staff while learning and developing their skills amongst an experienced staff.