Three University of Stirling students will join a crop of talented young American football players, at a star studded game,
after impressing ex-NFL coaches at a recent training camp. More than 120 players were on show over the weekend, with the aim of finding players capable of representing Europe against university teams from across the world.
The three players who were selected for the glamour game in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, were Matthew Barrington, Grant Isdale and Kenny Mackay. The trio, who all play for the University’s American football team,
Stirling Clansmen, will now have the opportunity to travel to America next year to compete for team Europe and will come up against teams from Japan, Canada, Mexico and the USA.
One of the players that was selected, Kenny Mackay, knows that it is a great opportunity to take part in a unique experience, “It’s a dream come true,” said the 21-year-old. “It’s something to look forward to and I never thought I’d have the chance to play in front of 30,000 people. It was an amazing weekend to actually be taught by NFL standard coaches here in Scotland.”
The students, were in good hands during the weekend-long training camp , with world renowned coaches such as Larry Zierlein, who won the Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008 as an offensive line coach, and Ted Cottrell who has served as a defensive co-ordinator for a number of teams including, most recently the San Diego Chargers. Sky Sports analyst, Cecil Martin, was also in attendance alongside other high- calibre coaches such as Chuck Bresnahan, Gene Dahlquist and Quintin Smith.
Zierlein felt the standard of player on show was of a very high standard over the weekend, he said: “The thing I noticed was the attention to detail every one of the players showed and how keen they were to learn and improve. I really enjoyed their enthusiasm and to have that heart is very important.”
The players were put through their paces over an action-packed weekend in which they attended a sports psychology class as well as a vast array of on-field workouts. FBU International Recruitment Director was enthused by the pas- sion shown for the sport by the University players, he said: “It was two days of intense training, working on fundamental skills and filming each drill so the players could pick up on what they need to improve on. FBU is now a global brand and we recognise that there is a real interest and passion here in Scot- land and across Europe for American Football so we aim to give players the platform to take their game to the next level.”
Quinn spoke about the decision to return to Stirling for the second time within a year and why it was chosen as the only venue visited in Britain by the FBU this time, he added: “A lot if it has to do with Rob Orr [Head Coach of the Clansmen] and the programme he has put in place at Stirling. It has a very professional feel to it. It’s a beautiful cam-
pus, it’s very well maintained and it has that sports feel about it, you see a lot of healthy people with the sports tracksuit on which makes them instantly recognisable.”
Clansmen Head Coach Rob Orr, who lead his side to the Scottish Champion- ship this season was thrilled that the FBU camp had returned to Stirling, he said: “It’s a reflection on the American Football programme at the University, and on the sporting status of Stirling that FBU chose to return here and hold their only camp in Europe. There is a lot of footballing talent here. Gradually we are moving American Football to wards elite sports status, so the success of events like FBU and the continued support of the Sports Department and Sports Union is very much appreciated.”
Orr was delighted that the three players were selected and it is a real boost for the University, he added: “Of the eleven players selected to the Team Eu- rope squad, it is a credit to Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence and our American Football programme, that three of our student athletes were chosen.”