List of American football teams in the United Kingdom

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Players from two American football teams during a match. One team is wearing green shirts and gold pants, the other team is wearing red shirts with black pants
The Chester Romans (in red) in action against the Doncaster Mustangs during the BAFL's 2007 season

American football was introduced to the United Kingdom during the early part of the 20th century by American servicemen stationed in the country. The first recorded match took place on 23 November 1910 at Crystal Palace, London, where a team made up of the crew from USS Idaho defeated their counterparts from USS Vermont 19–0.[1][2] During the Second World War, matches were played by American and Canadian servicemen stationed in the UK at venues throughout the country. This included the 'Tea Bowl' game played at the White City Stadium in 1944,[3] and this was followed by the creation of the United States Armed Forces Europe (USAFE) league in 1946.[4] This league consisted of teams from American military bases throughout Europe, with one of the league's three conferences made up of teams based in the UK – teams from this conference won the league championship thirteen times until the competition ceased in 1993.[5][6]

The first teams open to British players were established in 1983, and competition began the following year in the form of a series of one-off games. The match results were compiled into a 'Merit Table', with teams playing more than three games eligible for the championship—the first champions were the London Ravens, who won all ten of their matches.[7][8] Hundreds of clubs have since been formed, playing both full contact football and flag football at senior, university and youth level. Many of these clubs have since folded, renamed or merged with other local teams, but a few of the older clubs survive today.

The sport is administered by the British American Football Association (BAFA), with two main bodies of competition; the BAFA National Leagues (BAFANL) and the British Universities American Football League (operating as part of the British Universities and Colleges Sport competition).

BAFA National Leagues[edit]

The BAFA National Leagues (BAFANL) was formed in 2010 by the BAFA in response to the British American Football League's decision to split from the governing body.[9]

The senior league's membership comprises 56 teams based in towns ranging from Newquay in the south of England to Aberdeen in Scotland. These teams are spread across two tiers with promotion and relegation between each level. Each tier is further divided into regional conferences.[10] The top-ranking teams in each division compete in playoffs culminating in divisional finals—the championship game contested by the top Premier Division teams is known as the BritBowl. The 2013 champions are the London Warriors, who defeated the London Blitz 26–23 in the final held at the South Leeds Stadium.[11]

In addition to adult contact football, the BAFA runs youth and junior contact football, and also flag football across all age ranges.[12] A number of the teams within the league operate teams across two or more of these competitions. The British American Football Association defines the age ranges used within the league as follows:[13]

Designation Ages (contact) Ages (flag)
Adult 18 and above 16 and above
Junior 16 to 19
Youth 14 to 16 14 to 16
Cadet 10 to 13
Key
* Team competing in the BAFANL's senior contact league (2013 season)
Team Location Years in senior / adult league 2014 BAFA Adult division[10] 2013 BAFA Adult flag division[14] 2013 BAFA Junior division[15] 2013 BAFA Youth division[16] Other teams[17][18]
Aberdeen Oilcats Aberdeen  — Scotland North/East
Aberdeen Roughnecks* Aberdeen 2014[19] National North
Aylesbury Vale Spartans Aylesbury Central
Basingstoke Zombie Horde Basingstoke Southern
Berkshire Renegades* Reading 1985–87, 1989, 2006–[20] Premier South Southern South West
Birmingham Bulls* Birmingham 1984–[21] Premier North Central Central
Bournemouth Bobcats* Bournemouth 1986–1991, 2011–[22] National South West
Bristol Apache* Bristol 2011–[23] National South West
Bristol Aztecs* Bristol 1991–[24] Premier South
Burnley Tornadoes Burnley North
Bury Saints* Bury St Edmunds 2014[25] National South East
Calderdale Knights Halifax Northern
Cambridgeshire Cats* Cambridge 1985–90, 1993–98, 2002–[26][27] Premier South South
Carluke Cobras Carluke Scotland Central/West
Chester Romans* Chester 1987–[28] National North West North
Chichester Sharks Chichester Southern
Chorley Buccaneers Chorley North Youth flag, Cadet flag
Clyde Valley Blackhawks* Wishaw 2009–[29] National North
Colchester Gladiators* Wivenhoe 1985–95, 2005–[30] Premier South South Southern South East
Cornish Sharks* Newquay 2007–[31] National South West Southern South West
Coventry Cougars Coventry Youth flag, Cadet flag
Coventry Jets* Coventry 1991–93, 2004–[32] Premier North Central Central Central Youth flag
Crewe Railroaders Crewe 1985–90, 2012–[33] National North West
DC Presidents Durham 1985–97, 2012–2013[34] Associate[35] North
Doncaster Mustangs* Doncaster 2003–[36] Premier North Central
Dundee Hurricanes* Dundee 2003–[37] National North Scotland North/East
East Kent Mavericks* Aylesham 2006–[38] Premier South South Southern South East
East Kilbride Pirates* Hamilton 1986–[39] Premier North Scotland
Edinburgh Outlaws Edinburgh Scotland North/East
Edinburgh Wolves* Edinburgh 2003–[40] National North Scotland North/East Scotland
Essex Spartans* Billericay 1999–[41] National South East
Farnham Knights * Farnborough 1986–[42] National South West Southern South West
Gateshead Senators* Gateshead 1986–[43] Premier North North
Glasgow Hornets Glasgow Scotland Central/West
Glasgow Tigers* Glasgow 1986–[44] National North
Gloucester Centurions* Gloucester 2009–[45] National South West
Grangemouth Broncos Grangemouth Scotland Central/West
Hackney Cougars Hackney Southern
Hamilton Buccaneers Hamilton Scotland
Highland Wildcats Inverness 2009–2011[29] North Scotland
Horsham Buccaneers Horsham Youth flag
Inverclyde Phoenix Greenock Scotland
Ipswich Cardinals* Ipswich 1987–[46] National South East
Kent Exiles* Sidcup 1991–[47] National South East South Southern South East
Lancashire Wolverines* Blackburn 1988–2004, 2007–[48] Premier North North
Lanarkshire Longhorns Wishaw North
Leeds Bobcats Leeds Associate[49] North
Leicester Eagles Leicester Central
Leicester Falcons* Leicester 2008–[50] National Midlands Central Central
Lincolnshire Bombers* Sleaford 2007–[51] National Midlands
London Blitz* Finsbury Park 1984–[52] Premier South South Southern South East /
Southern South West
(Two teams)
Youth flag
London Hornets* Camden Town 2014[53] National South East
London Olympians* Crystal Palace 1984–2007, 2009–[54] Premier South
London Rebels Kennington Park Southern
London Warriors* Boston Manor 2008–[55] Premier South South Southern South East
Maidstone Pumas* Maidstone 1998–[56] National South East
Manchester Titans* Manchester 2003, 2005–[57] National North West North North
Marlow Wolves Marlow South Southern South West Youth flag, Cadet flag
Merseyside Nighthawks* Birkenhead 1986–[58] National North West
Newcastle Blackhawks Newcastle upon Tyne Northern
Northants Phantoms Northampton Central
Norwich Devils Norwich 1986–2011[59] Southern South East
Nottingham Caesars* Nottingham 1995–[60] Premier North Central
Ouse Valley Eagles* Milton Keynes 2014[61] National South East
Oxford Saints* Abingdon 1984–[62] National Midlands
Peterborough Saxons* Peterborough 2002–[63] National Midlands
Plymouth Extreme Plymouth Southern
Portsmouth Dreadnoughts* Portsmouth 2014 National South West
Reading Lions Reading Central
Sandwell Steelers* Sandwell 2014[64] National Midlands Northern Central
Sheffield Predators* Sheffield 2010–[65] Premier North
Sheffield Tomahawks Sheffield Central
Shropshire Revolution* Telford 2007–[66] National Midlands North
Solent Thrashers* Southampton 2005–[67] National South West South Southern South West
South London Renegades Southwark South
South Wales Warriors* Llanharan 1996–99, 2001–[68] Premier South Southern
Staffordshire Surge* Stoke-on-Trent 1994–[69] National North West
Standish Raiders Standish North
Steel City Knights Sheffield Northern
Studley Bearcats Studley Youth flag, Cadet flag
Sussex Thunder Brighton 1997–2013[70] Associate[71] Southern South West
Swindon Storm* Swindon 2013–[72] National South West
Tamworth Phoenix* Tamworth 2008–[73] Premier North Central Central
Torbay Trojans* Paignton 1984–92, 1997–99, 2014[74] National South West
Walney Terriers* Walney, Cumbria 2014[75] National North West
Watford Cheetahs* Watford 1987–[76] National South East South Southern South East
West Coast Trojans* Renfrew 2005–[77] National North Scotland Central/West
West Essex Showboats Epping Central
Woodham Warriors Woodham, County Durham Northern North
Yorkshire Rams* Leeds 1987–[78] Premier North Central

British Universities and Colleges Sport[edit]

The British Universities American Football League (BUAFL) was formed in 2007 by the BAFA after the organisation that ran its predecessor ceased operations.[79][80][81] Since 2012, the league has operated under the jurisdiction of British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).[82]

The league operates on a single tier divided into seven regional conferences, with the top twelve teams competing in postseason Championship playoffs, and a further twelve teams competing in the Challenge Trophy. The best four Conference winning teams get a first round bye in the postseason playoffs, and home field advantage for Round Two. The two teams that progress through the playoffs compete in the National Championship Final (formerly the College Bowl) which is held at the South Leeds Stadium.[82]

The 2012 champions are the Hertfordshire Hurricanes, who defeated the Birmingham Lions 37–19 in the final.[83]

Team University Location Year entered
league
2013–14 division[84]
ARU Rhinos Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge 2012[85] South Eastern A
Bangor Muddogs Bangor University Bangor, Gwynedd 2009[86] North Western
Bath Killer Bees University of Bath Bath 1992[87] Western
Bath Spa Bulldogs Bath Spa University Bath 2010[88] Western
Birmingham Lions University of Birmingham Birmingham 1989[89] Midland
BNU Buccaneers Buckinghamshire New University Chalfont St Giles 2008[90] South Eastern A
Bradford Bears University of Bradford Bradford 2011[91] North Eastern
Brighton Tsunami University of Brighton Brighton 2003[92] South
Bristol Barracuda University of Bristol Bristol 2007[93] Western
Brunel Burners Brunel University Uxbridge 2010[94] South Eastern B
Cambridge Pythons University of Cambridge Cambridge 2011[95] South Eastern A
Canterbury Chargers Canterbury Christ Church University Canterbury 2009[96] South Eastern A
Cardiff Cobras Cardiff University Cardiff 1987[97] Western
City Sentinels City University London Islington, London 2013[98] South Eastern B
Coventry Jets Coventry University Coventry 2010[99] Midland
Derby Braves University of Derby Derby 1996[100] North Western
DMU Falcons De Montfort University Leicester 2011[101] Midland
Durham Saints Durham University Durham 2007[102] North Eastern
Edinburgh Napier Knights Edinburgh Napier University Edinburgh 2004[103] Scottish
Edinburgh Predators University of Edinburgh Edinburgh 2009[104] Scottish
Essex Blades University of Essex Colchester 2001[105] South Eastern A
Exeter Demons University of Exeter Exeter 2009[106] Western
Glasgow Tigers University of Glasgow Glasgow 1986[107] Scottish
Gloucestershire Gladiators University of Gloucestershire Cheltenham 2010[108] Western
Greenwich Mariners University of Greenwich Crystal Palace 2004[109] South Eastern B
Hallam Warriors Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield 2003[110] North Western
Hertfordshire Hurricanes University of Hertfordshire Hatfield 1994[111] South Eastern A
Huddersfield Hawks University of Huddersfield Huddersfield 2007[112] North Eastern
Imperial Immortals Imperial College London South Kensington 2009[113] South Eastern B
KCL Regents King's College London Southwark 2010[114] South Eastern B
Keele Crusaders Keele University Keele, Staffordshire 2013[115] North Western
Kent Falcons University of Kent Canterbury 1996[116] South Eastern A
Kingston Cougars Kingston University Kingston upon Thames 2012[117] South Eastern B
Lancaster Bombers Lancaster University Lancaster 1991[118] North Western
Leeds Carnegie Leeds Metropolitan University Leeds 2009[119] North Eastern
Leeds Celtics University of Leeds Leeds 1990[120] North Eastern
Leicester Longhorns University of Leicester Leicester 1985[121] Midland
Lincoln Colonials University of Lincoln Lincoln 2006[122] Midland
Liverpool Fury Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool 2008[123] North Western
Loughborough Aces Loughborough University Loughborough 1988[124] Midland
LSBU Spartans London South Bank University Southwark 2010[125] South Eastern B
Manchester Tyrants University of Manchester Manchester 2009[126] North Western
MMU Eagles Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester 2011[127] North Western
Newcastle Raiders Newcastle University Gateshead 1985[128] North Eastern
Northampton Nemesis University of Northampton Northampton 2011[129] South Eastern A
Northumbria Mustangs Northumbria University Gateshead 2008[130] North Eastern
Nottingham Outlaws University of Nottingham Nottingham 1996[131] Midland
NTU Renegades Nottingham Trent University Nottingham 2009[132] Midland
OBU Panthers Oxford Brookes University Oxford 2010[133] South
Oxford Lancers University of Oxford Oxford 2012[134] South
Plymouth Blitz University of Plymouth Plymouth 2001[135] Western
Portsmouth Destroyers University of Portsmouth Portsmouth 2006[136] South
Reading Knights University of Reading Reading 1987[137] South
Royal Holloway Bears Royal Holloway, University of London Egham 2005[138] South Eastern B
Sheffield Sabres University of Sheffield Sheffield 2000[139] North Western
Solent Redhawks Southampton Solent University Southampton 2009[140] South
Southampton Stags University of Southampton Southampton 1989[141] South
Staffordshire Stallions Staffordshire University Stoke-on-Trent 1992[142] North Western
Stirling Clansmen University of Stirling Stirling 1985[143] Scottish
Sunderland Spartans University of Sunderland Sunderland 2004[144] North Eastern
Surrey Stingers University of Surrey Guildford 1994[145] South
Sussex Saxons University of Sussex Falmer, East Sussex 2013[146] South
Swansea Titans Swansea University Swansea 2009[147] Western
Tarannau Aberystwyth Aberystwyth University Aberystwyth 1992[148] Western
Teesside Cougars Teesside University Middlesbrough 1985[149] North Eastern
UCLan Rams University of Central Lancashire Preston, Lancashire 2012[150] North Western
UEA Pirates University of East Anglia Norwich 1987[151] South Eastern A
UH Sharks University of Hull Kingston upon Hull 1985[152] North Eastern
UWE Bullets University of the West of England Filton 1992[153] Western
UWS Pyros University of the West of Scotland, Paisley Campus Paisley 2003[154] Scottish
Warwick Wolves University of Warwick Warwick 1989[155] Midland
Westminster Dragons University of Westminster Westminster 2011[156] South Eastern B
Wolverhampton Wildcats University of Wolverhampton Wolverhampton 2012[157] Midland
Worcester Royals University of Worcester Worcester 2009[158] Midland
York Centurions University of York York 2009[159] North Eastern

American High School League in Europe[edit]

The American High School League in Europe (also referred to as High School Football Europe) is a competition organised by the European branch of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools. The teams in this league are drawn from high schools affiliated with US military bases within Europe, with the exception of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College which is a further education college located in Filton, England. The league in its present format was founded in 1975, with its constituent teams divided into three divisions. All teams play a regular season schedule against the other teams in their regional conference, with the top-ranked teams competing in playoffs to decide the divisional champions.[160]

Team Location Division[160]
Alconbury Dragons Alconbury High School, Alconbury Division III
Bristol Academy PRIDE South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Filton Division I
Lakenheath Lancers Lakenheath High School, RAF Lakenheath Division I
Menwith Hill Mustangs Menwith Hill Elementary/High School, RAF Menwith Hill Division III

Bristol Academy Community League[edit]

The Bristol Academy Community League (BACL) is a competition set up by the Bristol Academy of Sport in December 2012 for school pupils in Bristol and its surrounding areas. The league is initially set up for Year 10 to 12 pupils, with plans to include pupils from Years 7 to 9 in the future. The league comprises five teams, each representing a specific geographic area.[161] Each team plays each other twice during the course of the season, with the four top-ranked teams competing in postseason playoffs.[162]

Team Area represented
Central Cowboys Central Bristol
Eastern Gators Bath and East Bristol
Northern Bobcats South Gloucestershire and North Bristol
Southern Falcons Somerset and South Bristol
Welsh Tomahawks Newport

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