Leeds Beckett University coach receives top American Football award
The award recognises Dale’s hard work and dedication to delivering American football in the region to all ages and abilities.
Dale works tirelessly on developing the sport and offering new pathways for players in the UK, from the university’s elite team to children’s flag football.
Not only is Dale the Head Coach of the university’s American Football team but he has been influential of the development of the Yorkshire Assassin’s Junior Academy and plays an influential part in the Carnegie Junior Sports Academy’s Camp Carnegie programme.
He has also worked alongside NFL UK and several NFL teams including the San Francisco 49ers in engaging with pupils and encouraging them to try the sport, hard work that hasn’t gone unnoticed by his peers and the British American Football Coaches Association (BAFCA).
“It is a privilege to receive a national award.” Dale said.
“I see it as a nod to the hard work all of the coaches have put in over the past 12 months with both the BUCS team and our Carnegie Junior American Football programme.”
From division two to Premiers – how Dale turned Leeds Beckett into a champion team
The 2018/19 season saw Leeds Beckett University’s American Football team crowned BUCS Premier Champions for the first time in the university’s history.
After a long and tough season, the team peaked at the right time and saw them claim the trophy in emphatic fashion, defeating Hertfordshire 57-13 with a tactical masterclass from Dale and his team.
“The final was obviously a lot of fun,” Dale said
“It was very rewarding, it took three seasons of planning and effort to put the team in that position and many people have contributed along that journey.”
Dale has guided the team from competing in the BUCS Northern 1A competition (equivalent to the second division) to Premiership winners.
His favourite part of their Premiership winning campaign was seeing the development of his players and volunteer coaches who have been influential to their success.
“The best bit of our season has been seeing the players develop as the year progressed.”
“The coaches and players have all bought into the idea that wins and titles are a by-product of excellent preparation and work ethic,
“Our volunteer coaches are the driving force behind players’ success. They deserve so much credit for the work they do in contributing to positive student experiences; the impact they have is far greater than our wins on the pitch.”
Despite climbing the top of the mountain, the team have bigger and better aspirations as they head into the 2019/20 campaign.
“We have players from all over the UK, Europe and US joining us – it’s great to have the opportunity to create a successful team from a group of students that have vastly different backgrounds and life experiences,
“The plan is to continue with that and to build upon the positive culture and we hope that results in more medals.” Dale said.
Spreading the gospel – juniors in the region take notice
Away from the university’s first team, Dale works tirelessly on recruitment and developing players from a young age through the Yorkshire Assassin’s Junior American Football Academy.
The Assassins offers a pathway for youngsters throughout the county to get involved in gridiron from an early age and his work has seen him collaborate with NFL UK and several NFL UK teams including the San Francisco 49ers on delivering sessions to school pupils and children in the region.
“I’m very proud to have played a part in the development of youth American football in the region.” Dale said.
“The increase in NFL activity has given the sport in the UK a real boost, along with the sport having a big presence on social media. High profile UK-based sportsmen making an impact in the NFL has helped a great deal too.”
Dale gives his tips on how you can get involved with American Football at all age levels and the top clubs to choose in Leeds and Yorkshire.
“Find your nearest team and get involved! At the Yorkshire Academy we have opportunities for people of any age, gender and ability to play, including both full contact and flag football.
“All of the teams are very welcoming, and the majority of players began playing at the teams as a complete beginner. There are also opportunities to be involved in ways other than playing such as coaching and support staff.”
Get involved with American Football in Leeds: