By Conor Perrett

Welcome to the biggest American Football college game in the UK as later today the SGS Pride Academy take on the University West of England Bullets.

Back before the NFL UK made their push for American Football popularity in recent years across the UK, there was a little team in the city of Bristol called SGS Pride. They published themselves as an academy for American Football and took talented young players from Europe and the UK to expand their opportunities of playing college call in the States or semi-professional ball in Europe.

Not being a part of any league at the time, Head Coach Benjamin Herod used his experiences in the game as a player and coach as a platform to create this academy as a poster for young American Football players. With the help of many, including highly respected offensive coordinator Dan Maher and offensive-line coach Anthony Fitzpatrick, he created an academy that took on the best teams from around the continent. 

They had success over many years with wins in France, Germany, the Netherlands and against British and Irish university sides. As the players involved started to get further opportunities in NCAA football and in the German Football League.

(Photos by Alex Chan)

The opportunity arose last year for the Pride, which operates out of SGS College, to enter the University BUCS league along with the rest of American Football university teams in the country.

With the reputation that Coach Herod and Pride created over the last decade and a half, they were placed in Division 1 to start their new journey. Last season they went unbeaten all season and became the Division 1 Champions after a 21-8 win over the Newcastle Raiders.

On that same day, the Premiership final was won by the UWE Bullets, a team five minutes down the road from SGS College.

UWE themselves are a recognised team in the Uni American Football world but have stayed in the lane of the BUCS league. They have attracted the best athletes across the country and even bring in Americans from across the pond to play for them. They got their first Premiership Championship last year, after years of waiting during the COVID seasons.

(Photos by Alex Chan)

Being so close to each other, there a lot of links as you might expect. Players such as defensive stars George Rimes and Billy Elliot have ties to both teams, while the Head Coach of the Bullets is former Pride Offensive Coordinator: Dan Maher.

With both teams located in Bristol, you can find their players playing together during the summer for Bristol Aztecs. Right now their respected teams are viewed as the No. 1 and No.2 teams in the country. Both undefeated on the season they have been raking up the scores against their opponents.  

Finally they meet tonight in what is a highly anticipated matchup. 

It’s the first time in each team’s history they will meet each other in a competitive game, and there will be bragging rights and undefeated records on the line. Players and coaches, which have shared the field as one, will now be facing each other head on in one of the biggest games on the American Football calendar in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s