We spoke to the only female American football team in Yorkshire, who are bringing Beckett and Uni of TOGETHER
The team which is shaking up the sporting world for the two universities and the wider county.
The Uni of Leeds and Leeds Beckett do not exactly have a history of friendship, especially when it comes to the field (in case you all need reminding about varsity), so when 'The Leeds Carnegie Chargers' announced that they were recruiting from BOTH universities to make one Leeds team, there were, of course, many doubts around this adventurous move. It also happens that the team is the only female American football team in Yorkshire, meaning the team really is one of a kind.
Plans to bring the two universities together are based upon the previously non existent American Football team at Uni of, with Beckett's shortage of team members. As Will, chairman of The Gryphons shared, "From a Leeds University perspective, we plan to bring the two Universities together through recruitment. As Leeds Beckett community women’s team struggle with recruiting sufficient members, and there are potentially women who are students at Leeds University that would rather take part in an all-women’s game, it is in both of our best interests to collaborate in attempt to increase awareness of this opportunity and boost recruitment."
It was the idea that Leeds Uni students would be interested in taking part in an 'all-women's game', which also sparked the collaboration. Megan Robinson who is chair of The Carnegie Chargers shared: "I had the idea to run a collaboration after speaking to Andy, one of the coaches for the American football team at Leeds University when he told me there was no women’s team. I then spoke with someone from Leeds University Union to confirm this, and ask whether she thought women at Leeds University would be interested, she seemed keen for me to set this up. I saw this as a huge opportunity for both the Carnegie Chargers, to recruit more women into the sport and into our team, and an opportunity for the women studying at Leeds University, as they currently do not have a team."
Megan revealed that though a partnership between the two rival uni's may initially appear optimistic, it is not the first time the two have come together, and even more plans for Beckett and Uni of to work together are being formed for the near future. She shared: "Leeds Beckett and Leeds University have already collaborated in terms of societies, so I thought, why not reach out? I was put in touch with the Chairman of the American football team and he agreed. Currently we have plans for the team to help promote women in the sport at Leeds University’s Fresher’s Fair, and we are in talks on how we can collaborate further."
Both Megan and Will are optimistic about the collaboration, confessing: "As long as both teams are interested in collaborating with each other to promote the best possible recruitment drive, then there is no reason why we cannot make this possible, given that we put the right planning in place or the 2018/19 season"
If this team was not different enough already, the fact that they are the only women's American football team in Yorkshire, is another way which the 'Carnegie Chargers' are shaking up the sporting world, both for the two universities, and the wider county. Being the only female team in Yorkshire does, however, have its perks, as Megan shared: "We can easily represent our county in the sport and we have the opportunity to travel all over the country meeting and playing new teams. Another great selling point is that the American football world is relatively small and so it is easy to make connections to other players and other teams".
Though there is still an evident gap for women in the world of American football, this team aims to fill the void in Leeds, saying, " As a result of the high level of physicality and contact of the predominantly 'male sport', many women are discouraged from joining mixed university teams. From this, it is clear that there would be a much higher level of participation from women in American football if the relevant funding and recruitment strategies were put in place by Universities to build a team. I think The Carnegie Chargers do cater for women who want to play and so in that sense we are helping to bridge the gap"
You can find out more information about The Carnegie Chargers here.