As the Under 19’s game continues to experience troubles, three teams from the South East have worked to combine their efforts and launch a new offering for Under 19s football in the region: the South East Legion.
The East Kent Mavericks, Kent Phoenix and the Hellingly Hound Dogs will be working together to form this new U19s team that will participate in the upcoming BAFA U19s season in 2019.
The move follows the East Kent Mavericks being the only team of the three to compete at an U19 league level last season, and even then they were forced to forfeit the majority of their fixtures following a 1-1 start to their six-game season. The three teams believe that by combining their efforts they can create a sustainable and robust programme to compete in the U19s game that continues to have troubles from one year to the next.
The Legion shared:
The South East has seen strong and sustained growth in Youth American Football over the past few years. Clubs have worked collaboratively to increase the number of young people playing and the standards of coaching and development. As a result of this work we find ourselves in a position to support further progress and look at establishing a system of progression to encourage greater pathways and opportunities.
We will continue to support individual clubs development and growth, offer events, work with our NGB and other stakeholders to build the sport in our region.
Following discussions between clubs in the region, in conjunction with BAFA, it has been agreed to enter a combined team into the BAFA National League Under 19’s competition for the 2019 season. East Kent Mavericks, Kent Phoenix and Hellingly Hound Dogs players and coaching staff will work together to provide opportunities to play within the league. Had this agreement not been made then none of the clubs would have had squads sufficient to play and therefore by taking this approach we can ensure that our players are able to test themselves and continue to develop their skills.
Through this coordinated approach we hope to create a program that supports further growth and development of the sport in the region and offer a progressive pathway for players and coaches, it will also enable Coaching development to be improved through sharing best practice and planning Coaching development and training sessions.
We look forward to the forthcoming announcements regarding alignments and schedules so we can begin to plan fully for our foray into the National League.
Legion Team Manager Ian Miles said
“This is an amazing opportunity, we have worked hard to create a regional programme that ensures individual clubs will retain their identity and development plans whilst supporting growth.
We are looking to work with existing clubs and BAFA to ensure the Sport flourishes and we can continue to build programmes that offer young people the best possible opportunity to develop skills. This would not have been possible without the fantastic attitude of the three clubs involved as well as others who while not directly part of our combined team are still keen to work together within the region to provide greater opportunities.’