I got the opportunity to speak with Neil Edwards. He is the Head Coach of the London Olympians. The London Olympians are an amateur-based American Football team in London, England. They are in the Premier League of American Football in Europe. This League consists of 10 Teams throughout the greater region of the United Kingdom.
American Football Matches are played April through September in Europe. I just said, “Match,” that’s so English of me. The Pre-season begins in January with the first game not being until about April. Football takes weeks of training to build the body and get the mind ready to endure battalion like combat. This reminds me of my college days as a Cal State Matador. I played strong safety and special teams for my team. During the winter months, we would hit the weights hard and get ourselves ready to prove ourself to the coaches with our 15 Spring Practices. The NCAA allows colleges to only have 15 full-pad practices during the spring.
Neil talked about being head coach and explained the responsibility that goes ways beyond the game. He mentions, “Giving Young Adults Purpose” being one of the key ingredients to his success. I have always admired coaches that take ownership of their clubs and aim to make great athletes but also to build good character. Character is who you are when nobody is looking. The game of American football teaches you discipline and how to face your fears even when the odds may seem to be against you. Football players take the game from the field and implement the things they’ve learned into their real life. Coach Edwards also Spoke on his younger years and finding the game. He mentions running into a Texas native while he was with his buddies in track suits throwing the ball around.
The Texas Football Enthusiast helped him start a team and the rest is history. He was very soon after competing as an athlete. “When I found American Football, I finally found a game that I felt was me.” -Coach Edwards. I felt the same way when I began playing. The London Games brings two more matches over the Pond. Next week is the Los Angeles Chargers vs. The Tennessee Titans and the following week is the Jacksonville Jaguars as they face the reigning super bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. All games are sold out with a hefty 88,000 American Football Fans in Europe.