BUCS Player Spotlight: Homegrown talent Harry Buckland’s football journey

Wide receiver Harry Buckland has long been one of the brightest young stars in British American football, going from a local youth player to a captain for Great Britain Lions u19 and University of West England Bullets in a matter of years.

Buckland began his journey playing u16 football with Swindon Storm in 2018, in a five-aside format. He played two seasons with the Storm and one with Thames Valley Tigers u19 before making the step up to play academy football with SGS PRiDE in Bristol.

The then 17-year-old made an instant impact for the academy, playing big parts in wins against Team North and Lakenheath at home before being awarded MVP in the away fixture at Lakenheath.

The 6’2, 192lbs wideout spent two years at the academy, playing a monumental role in the u19 offense in games against the likes of French Pole Revolution and other young European sides.

Alongside playing at the PRiDE, Buckland earned his first competitive international cap and made an instant impact, recording 133 yards on four catches against Finland – GB’s offense had just 122 yards of total offense.


Earlier this year he made his final appearance for the junior Lions, captaining the squad against Italy. In a tough loss against a strong side, Buckland stood out as one of the strongest pieces of the team.

Soon after Harry would go onto announce his commitment to an already star-studded UWE Bullets a stone’s throw away from SGS, where he would play behind the likes of Jason-Matthew Sharsh (USA, Hawaii), Zay Amaechi (USA, Dresden Monarchs) and De’Andre Rucker (USA, Shaw University).

In his two games for the Bullets, he has been one of the most prominent non-American skill positions. His effectiveness on the goal line and in two-point conversions also gives him one of the most peculiar stat lines on the team, recording one reception for one yard with 12 points to his name.

Harry Buckland sat with us to speak about his playing experience and his future in football.

AFI: What can you tell us about your history in football and how it all began?

Buckland: Growing up, I always watched football, I remember hearing about a team close to me called Swindon Storm and thought I might as well try it out and see. After my first training session, it had me hooked, I loved the game so much I remember coming home and instantly quitting my football (soccer) team and every other sport I played and I was all in.

AFI: Are there any coaches or players that stood out to you in your football journey and why?

Buckland: There have been several people throughout my career who have had a huge influence on me, I try to pick up something from everyone I play with and for. Victor Ofoe, Andy Duff, Coach Fitz, Alex Baldry (Shout out Alex for making all-conference [TE, Laney College]), Coach Dan Maher and Coach Frankie are all huge defining factors in my careers so far, they have all played a huge role in my development, not just as a player but as a person.

AFI: When did you know you wanted to take football more seriously and head to SGS?

Buckland: Initially, I went to a normal college and just planned on doing my A-Levels, I thought I was done with chasing football and would just play casually. One of my friends from Storm had actually gone to SGS a year before me, he memorised my bus schedules and would always call me whilst I was waiting for a bus after college to try to convince me to go over there. Long story short, it worked. I dropped out by Christmas break and began working so I could afford to go over there next year. It was the best decision I made, I thank that friend regularly.

AFI: What was the process that brought you to UWE?

Buckland: I was coached by Coach Frankie at both Bristol Aztecs and GB U19’s, I always really enjoyed playing for him and loved his coaching style so that was a huge persuading point. On top of this, getting to play with and learn from amazing players like Jadrian Clark, Jason Matthew-Sharsh and Deandre Rucker to name a few, has immensely helped me develop as a player and was too much to turn down. Finally, just when you look at the recent success that UWE have had, they’re creating a huge legacy that I am honoured to be a part of.

AFI: What has been your proudest or most defining moment of your career so far?

Buckland: So far in my career, I would say my proudest moment was my first time being Great Britain U19’s captain in our win against Spain. It was the program’s first competitive win in over a decade and is a memory I will always cherish. Shout out to all the coaches and players in that organisation.

AFI: What is your goal in football over the next few years?

Buckland: I mean for sure playing in Europe is a huge goal of mine, having been around guys like Jadrian and Lawrence this season, just hearing how they describe it and when you look at the level of competition out there. It’s for sure something I want to achieve in my career. However, my focus right now is 100% on this season and winning my first ring.

AFI: Finally, how would you describe your play style? Is there someone you look up to?

Buckland: I mean i’m not sure how much I play like him but I would say that Larry Fitzgerald is who I model myself after. Just so consistent, didn’t drop the ball, loved doing the dirty work and blocking, having more tackles than drops as a receiver is ridiculous. In my opinion he is the best receiver of all time.

Buckland is set to make his first start today against the Cardiff Cobras, who are coming off their first win in two seasons.

A current student at Bournemouth University as well as a quarterback with eight years of playing experience. Brad's goal is to be a part of the growth of the game around the world through journalism and media.