A trio of young American footballers are set to represent their country after a dramatic rise through the ranks into the Great Britain squad.
Jake Blackburn, Jamie Edgar and Sam Gair from the Lincolnshire Bombers American Football Club were all chosen to represent GB youth teams after being scouted at the national play-offs this summer.
It has been a fast track to success for the trio with all three players either in only their first or second season of playing gridiron.
Blackburn, who lives in Cranwell, Gair, from Tattershall and Edgar, from Sleaford, were part of the successful Bombers Under 17s team which finished ranked 12th nationally after qualifying for the play-offs in 2018.
Blackburn (17) got into the sport through a friend and was recommended for trials by the offensive coordinator and line coach.
“When I was told I was absolutely thrilled. It’s a rare privilege to represent your country at anything so I was just so happy I could.
“I’ve always been told I was bad at sports just because I wasn’t good at football (soccer) so it’s nice to have the last laugh!”
Edgar (14) added: “I was told by our GB running back (Elliott Harvey) that I should attend the trials.
“When I was told I was bouncing around the house with excitement, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
“It eventually sunk in and I’m honoured to be part of the GB team.”
Gair (13) became interested in the sport when his dad brought him an American football back from the States.
“I had a quick pre-match training session with Jake [Blackburn] who showed me how to play D (defensive) line as I had only played quarterback before,” he said.
“I was so surprised to be picked because most of the other lads at the trial were much older, much bigger and more experienced than me so it was fantastic news.
“I’m amazed of how far I’ve progressed in such a short time with the help of all the Bombers coaches.”
* Rookie open days are now available for the 2019 season for players who want to start in the sport with the Bombers.
Anyone aged 13 to 18 can apply for the youth squads, with 18s and over eligible to play senior football.