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Jacksonville Jaguars visit East Ham school

PUBLISHED: 11:00 19 June 2017

Jacksonville Jaguars visit Shaftesbury Primary School (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

Jacksonville Jaguars visit Shaftesbury Primary School (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

Archant

Jacksonville Jaguars coaches paid a special visit to Shaftesbury Primary School.

Ryan Browne teaching pupils how to play American football (Pic: Jacob Ranson) Ryan Browne teaching pupils how to play American football (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

The Florida-based NFL team set up a day of American football games, obstacles and inflatable’s for a class enjoy as part of their bid to promote the sport.

More than 20 children, who attend the school in East Ham, got the opportunity to work with the club’s community coaches and learn how to play the sport.

Coach and UK events executive, Ryan Browne, said: “It was really fun, the kids had never played American football before, but what I find with the schools that we’re working in London is a lot of the skills are transferable with other sports.

“Kids with their basketball, football or an athletics background, netball even they can take a lot of them skills and actually apply them.”

Pupils try their luck at throwing American footballs (Pic: Jacob Ranson) Pupils try their luck at throwing American footballs (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

The Jaguars are looking to promote a game called Jag Tag, a simplified tag version of American football suitable for all abilities, to help build a new generation of NFL fans.

“American football is the fastest growing sport in the UK, we’re fully aware of that, so we’re just trying to fly the flag for the Jaguars as we’re the only team in the NFL who play a regular season game here in the UK.

“We want to give these kids a bit of NFL fever and the spark of the NFL is brilliant in the US and we’re just trying to bring that over shores.”

The Jaguars, who are already working with 32 schools across the UK, are hoping to work with more schools in East London and start running tournaments.

“We’d have the tournaments and we’ve got a programme called the reward rows scheme in which we get 550 kids to our game at Wembley stadium against the Baltimore Ravens and give these kids an experience,” he added.

Deputy headteacher David Pasola added: “We’re really excited to be involved with this and hopefully help bring American football to the UK.

“In 2013 I went to a Jaguars game at Wembley and really liked the sense of pride and belonging there was in the Jaguars organisation, but also there community work that was going on and how they recognised the commitment and care shown by others.

“I thought that was something we needed to raise here at Shaftesbury, we needed to raise our children’s sense of pride in coming to the school.”

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