Jamie Phillips is the next person selected in our Flying the Flag Scheme. The scheme is designed to help those wanting to become coaches or officials to give them that little bit of a leg up.
We have helped Jamie pay for a couple of courses – ‘USA Football youth certification for coaches’, ‘Safeguarding and protecting children workshop’ and a sports first aid course.
We asked Jamie to tell us a bit about himself and why he signed up to the scheme! Interview is below:
Jamie, congratulations on being selected as part of the “Flying the Flag” scholarships. What was your initial reaction when we emailed you confirming you were selected?
I was really happy when I received the email from you guys saying I had been accepted. It got me excited to start planning events in my local area.
How did you hear of us and what made you sign up to the scheme?
I have been following you guys on Facebook for a while and love reading your articles on your website. I saw your advert when you first started advertising and really wanted to apply to give me that push i needed to get into coaching.
What was your first experience with American football?
My very first experience with American football was at the London games in 2013. Jaguars vs 49ers. I love an underdog story so cheered on the Jaguars on that day and have followed Jaguars ever since. After that I got into playing flag football for ‘Northants Phantoms’ and then moved onto ‘Northants Knights’ kitted team when they started up.
What do you think about the sport in this country, do you think we’ll end up having a franchise in London?
I love everything that the Jaguars have done in the UK. From player training camps to meet and greets. That being said I don’t want the Jaguars to move here as i don’t think the stadium will ever have a decent atmosphere for the Jaguars to have a real home advantage. It would take a good few years before the hype of NFL being in the UK every week starts to slow down and only genuine fans would go. Logistically, I don’t think it will work for a franchise in London whatsoever due to scheduling and teams not wanting to travel to London.
Do you go to the International series games?
Yes. Been to every Jags game since 2013 and had a season ticket for a number of years for the other games.
Favourite match/player/team in the NFL?
Favourite Season for me is obviously 2017 when the Jags made it to the Conference championship game and being so close to making the Superbowl. Favourite game in that season was against the steelers in the division championship when we beat them 45-42. I have quite a few individual players I loved for the Jags but I will probably have to pick Calais Campbell as I met him in London a couple of years ago and he signed a Mini helmet for me.
What made you go down an tryout with a flag team rather than the adult kitted team at Northants?
When I wanted to get into playing there wasn’t a kitted team local to me so I tried out for the Northants Phantoms. My first gameday was a tournament in Bedford and we went unbeaten on the day and won the tournament. Played at Phantoms for a few seasons and then I heard about a kitted team being made in Northampton and went along to try out with them and was a member with them from the beginning. I had a background of playing rugby for most of my life and it was suggested I played linebacker. I played MLB for the majority of my playing time at the Knights.
What is your fondest memory of playing the sport?
Winning our first associate game with the Knights. We went in at half time losing the game against Etone Jags and came back and won in the second half by 3 points. Another notable mention is that I was proud to have my 1 month old boy on the sideline to watch us beat Hereford.
Any bad injuries (either yourself or opposition)?
I’ve not suffered with any serious injuries myself but i did witness a player seriously injure his leg which put him out from playing again as he landed awkwardly from a tackle on a punt return.
What is your favourite thing about Britball?
The britball community is great. Whilst the Knights were going through the associate process we managed to get a few scrimmages with other teams. These were great as we were playing with players who had years of experience. They all took the time to help us out with fundamentals and other techniques. Also when the Knights formed it brought a lot of ex players back into the sport who were part of previous Northampton clubs back in the 90s.
What do you find most frustrating about the sport in this country?
The cost to play the sport as an individual can make it quite difficult for new players to get involved. Clubs do have kit to loan out to players but sometimes that can take time to get new players the kit. I wouldn’t say there was anything that really frustrates me about the sport in the UK. Its constantly growing which is only a good positive for the sport in the UK.
What made you want to take a step into coaching?
Age and recovery time after training sessions and games. Lockdown came just at the wrong time as well for me. I had planned to have 1 more playing year but then all games got cancelled and training postponed whilst in the pandemic.
What is your end goal or career aspirations in the sport (if any!)?
I want to help get this sport into schools locally. Be that either after school clubs or even planned PE sessions. We have done a couple of fun taster sessions for schools in Northampton as they reached out to us. The Knights have just lowered their Junior age bracket so capturing young athletes early in schools to bring them into the Knights programmes would be fantastic. A lot of children follow the path of playing for a football or rugby club, it would be great to get some of them children into american football as well.