Steeler hoping to play for GB after taking part in national trials

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Sandwell Steeler Andy Wilson is hoping to be a part of the national British American Football team after participating in the trials last Saturday (23rd October).

The defensive back travelled to Nottingham as part of a 100-man practice group and will find out in November whether he has made the cut to join the existing squad.

Wilson said: “With American Football in the UK there’s a wide range of talent because everyone’s fairly dispersed. It’s not like standard football where there’s so many people playing, you’re guaranteed to get some good players.

“I was very excited. The opportunity to play against top level players is something that doesn’t come around often.  Just persistently playing against good players from across the country was quite refreshing and very enjoyable.”

Head coach Jason Scott is hoping for GB to play warm up games in November with the vast majority of those players to be drafted in for 2022’s European Championship.

Selection for the practice squad was conducted through a new-look application process which Wilson believes helped his cause.

Wilson said: “They’ve made being invited to the GB trials a lot more transparent this year. So normally, they’d only select players from the best clubs in the country or people playing professionally abroad.

“This year you make an application, tell them your position, what makes you stand out as a talent. I’ve been working pretty hard the last few years and I’m happy that the hard work paid off.”

Wilson, aged 26, grew up near Coventry but began his American Football journey as a wide receiver in the University of Nottingham where he studied Industrial Economics.

Andy Wilson running in a game of American Football
Wilson now plays as defensive back after switching from wide receiver

However, he said it was when playing for the Steelers as a defensive back that he raised his overall game.

Wilson said: “I went over to Nottingham four years ago for uni and played there as wide receiver but was fairly terrible. I became better when I left university to play adult football.

“One of the coaches I had when I was at the University of Nottingham, (Alec Glen) is the same guy that’s in charge of GB’s quarterbacks, so it was nice to see him again.”

Due to Covid-19, the British American Football Association (BAFA) were forced to restructure the league system for the 2020 season. Rather than the Premier Division, Division 1 and Division 2, there are now 14 local leagues.

Sandwell Steelers sit fourth in the six-team Mercia league with wins over Crewe Railroaders and Staffordshire Surge. However, Wilson admitted that it was not the same side that got promoted pre-pandemic.

Wilson said: “We had a bit of a weird season. A couple of years ago we got promoted and we were fantastic. That team would’ve competed in the prem.

“University of Birmingham were national university champions and so we had a couple of their players who were very good.”

He added: “But a lot of them got older and had to stop whether that be because of children, work etc. This year we’ve got a lot of young players that haven’t really had much experience of regular American football.”

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