NFL legends put British talent through their paces at the Jags Academy

NFL Legends Mark Brunell and Tony Boselli feature in all star line up to coach the next generation of European American footballers at second annual Jaguars Academy

The National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars returned to London for its annual Jaguars Playing Academy held at Brunel University in Uxbridge from 13-15 July. It was followed by the Jaguars Coaching Academy on 16 July. In its second year, the Jaguars Academy offered hundreds of up-and-coming American Football players a rare opportunity to be coached by world-class former NFL professionals in all facets of their games through to position-specific training.

Flying to the U.K. to run the three-day residential training camp, the Jaguars’ coaching staff and former star players offered amateurs a genuine experience of practicing at the highest level, taking them through training, life skills sessions and film review.

The stellar coaching line-up included:

– Super Bowl Champion Mark Brunell, Quarterback
– Hall of Fame finalist Tony Boselli, Offensive Line
– 10-year NFL veteran and Current Jags coach Tyrone Wheatley, Running Back
– Two-time Super Bowl Champion Keenan McCardell, Wide Receiver
– 14-year NFL veteran and current Jags coach Marcus Pollard, Tight End
– Super Bowl Champion Keith KcKenzie, Defensive Line
– Super Bowl Champion Fernando Bryant, Defensive Back
– 5 year NFL veteran Bryan Schwartz, Linebacker

Legendary Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback, Mark Brunell joined the all-star coaching line-up for the first time this year:

“It’s great to have American Football camps like this in the UK, and we’ve seen real improvements in the three days we’ve worked with these young men and women. It’s been really exciting to see how passionate and committed they are to the game, and it bodes really well for the future of the sport here. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it all.”

The goal of the Playing Academy is to improve the standard of the game in Britain by offering a level of coaching not available outside the NFL. The participants, the next wave of European American Football talent, flew in from as far afield as Romania and Slovakia, as well as locally grown talent from all over UK which included London Warriors Women’s players Lucie Stewart, Candice Simon, and Siobhan Walker.

Super Bowl champion Mark Brunell

Team GB and London Warriors’ Lucie Stewart returned to the Jaguars Academy for the second time,

“To be able to have this level of training and access to coaches who have Super Bowl rings, is such a blessing and is integral to developing the talent here, so I’m really excited to be back. It is a male dominated sport and I was the only female here last year! This time around I’ve been joined by fellow women from Team GB and London Warriors so it’s great to have them here. We’ve given the guys a good run on the field, learned from the best in the game and had a lot of fun – We’re really grateful to the Jags for the opportunity. ”

The academy is part of the Jaguars’ continued year-round commitment to growing participation and improving the game of American football in the U.K. Participants at the Jaguars Academy pushed themselves in front of the Jaguars staff and showed what British talent is all about.

Following the Jaguars Playing Academy was also a UK-based one-day coaching clinic for amateur coaches on 16 July. The day was tailored to U.K. and Europe-based American football coaches looking to expand their knowledge and experience from first-hand NFL-level coaching with the ultimate goal of allowing coaches to return to their respective teams and improve team performance and individual player development.

Senior Vice President of International Development, Hussain Naqi is delighted to be able to offer such a unique opportunity to British players,

“Jags are the home team for the UK and London so we have a natural vested interest to do all we can to coach, train and inspire the next generation of American Footballers here. The coaches that have joined this years’ Jaguars Academy and dedicated their time to be part of it includes future hall of famers, Super Bowl Champions and current Jags coaching staff – To be able to offer participants the opportunity to be coached by this calibre of talent is something we’re extremely proud of and we look to build on it year on year. Our dedicated ongoing programme incorporates a series of initiatives for those who have an early interest in the game and keen to give it a go or are already playing American Football, these include JagTag and the Jaguars Se7ens Cup.”

The Jaguars Playing Academy and Jaguars Coaching Academy are both part of a broader strategy to improve and grow the game of American football in the U.K. To show their commitment, the Jaguars are also putting on a national flag American Football tournament, the Jaguars Se7ens Cup, and a schools programme, JagTag. With these programmes, the Jaguars are aiming to improve the quality and playing knowledge of American Football at the grassroots level.

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