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Leeds Beckett University hosts women's American football championship teams

Leeds Beckett University is hosting teams from across Europe as they compete in the International Federation of American Football’s (IFAF) Women’s European Championships at the John Charles Stadium, Leeds, until 17 August.

American football on grass

Leeds Beckett University alumna and line-backer Bethany Pilkington will be playing for team GB, alongside current Leeds Beckett student and Carnegie Chargers players’ Lucy Peaty. They will line up alongside fellow Chargers players Robyn Steward, Elizabeth Bush, Emma Taylor, Laura Harbottle and Jo Mann.

Dale Bottomley, American Football Development Officer at Leeds Beckett University, said: “Women’s American football is on the rise so it’s fantastic for Leeds Beckett to host the European Championship teams.

“There’s been a buzz around the campus throughout the competition and the players from all teams are serving to inspire the young players we have in the region, especially those from the Carnegie Junior Sport Academy.”

Leeds is a top spot for American football in the UK with several local community club teams, two university teams including Carnegie American Football who are the current UK university champions, and the Yorkshire Academy of American Football all based in the area.

And young players aged eight to 16 are on campus learning how to play ‘flag American football’ throughout August at university-organised sports camps.

Great Britain Women’s American football head coach, Jim Messenger, said: “It’s great to see how the sport has grown in popularity in the UK over the last few years and it is a real privilege to host the second ever Women’s European Championship in the UK.

“We know that the city of Leeds is already a big supporter of the game and we hope that a week of international matches in the city will help to raise the profile and introduce it to a new audience.”

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