Edinburgh Wolves American football club will host their final recruitment session on Sunday in the hope of unearthing some firepower ahead of the 2014 season.
With the British American Football Association (BAFA) season not in motion until the beginning of April, Wolves will use their final initiative at Queensferry Rugby Club this weekend to give some hopefuls the opportunity to try their luck in the game.
The club hosted three sessions before Christmas, with head coach, Don Edmonston, encouraged by the promise of some of the players in attendance.
However, he is now looking for anyone aged 14 and over who has a desire to play the sport to make an appearance before pre-season training gets underway at the beginning of next month.
Edmonston said of this Sunday’s session: “We’ll have some basic skills as well as agility testing and there will also be an introduction to the basic football skills.
“We normally get somewhere between 30 and 60 people but it sometimes just depends on the weather. If the weather is good we get good numbers, if the weather’s bad then they stay in their beds ...
“This is the last session we will have. We had three before Christmas which we call rookie school where you come for all three sessions and then we have this one on Sunday which is the last opportunity to recruit.
“We won’t turn people away and don’t cut anybody.
“As long as they commit to training and their off-field sessions in terms of their conditioning then we’ll make them a football player.”
Having run this particular regime for the past seven seasons, Edmonston underlined the positivity such a procedure has generated in terms of the club’s retention figures.
“We have guys on the team now that have turned up to these rookie days where our retention rate is probably about 20 per cent from those who attend those sessions and we keep them at the club for a good few years,” said Edmonston, who has been at the helm since 2006.
“Adults seem to be more keen; we don’t get a massive turnout from those aged 19 and under because we tend to recruit those players through the school programmes we run.
“We do get the odd one but, in general, it’s more of an older generation. However, this Sunday is open to anyone aged 14 and over because we have got three teams now, with the youths (14-16), the junior team for the first time (16-19) and the seniors as well (18 plus).”
A narrow defeat to Gateshead Senators ended the club’s bid to make the National League’s play-offs last season, so the management and players are desperate to go one better when the season kicks off in the spring. “We just fell short on the last game,” Edmonston said. “If we’d won that then we would have been in the play-offs and all after a really bad start. The team came on really strong and won seven games in a row so we just missed out.
“The target for every year is the play-offs, but this season we think we’re in a better place than last year. We’ve recruited well and we hope we can strengthen further on Sunday. We have a roster of about 46 but look to run a squad in upwards of say 60 or 70.
“But, as the season gets closer, that will whittle down to about the mid-50s – some people leave, some get hurt and others think it’s just not for them.”
Edinburgh Wolves’ ‘rookie day’ is being held this Sunday, January 19, from 1pm at Queensferry Rugby Club. Anyone interested in attending must be aged 14 years or over and players are advised to bring with them a pair of boots and a gumshield. All other equipment will be provided.