Leicester Falcons

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falcons logo240.png
Established 2006
Team colours White helmets
Forest Green or White shirts
Forest Green pants
Green & white socks
Home field Leicester Road Stadium
De Montfort Park
Hinckley
Leicestershire
Conference alignment BAFA National Leagues
NFC 2 South
Chairman Guy Kersey
(2015–Present)
Head Coach Lester Hopewell
(2015–Present)
All-time regular season record (54–32–4)
2016 regular season record (10-0-0)
Playoff record (8–3)
Playoff appearances (5)
2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016
Divisional Championships (2)
Div 2 2009, Div 2 2016
BritBowl appearances (3)
Div 2 2009, Div 1 2011, Div 2 2016

The Leicester Falcons are a British American football team based in Leicester, England. The Falcons play in the National League Central of the British American Football Association National Leagues.

History[edit]

The Leicester Falcons were formed in 2006 by general manager Guy Kersey and a nucleus of local players hoping to share their enjoyment and knowledge of the sport. Named in connection with Leicester Eagles, the regional flag football team, the Leicester Falcons held their first training session at Belgrave Rugby Club on 19 March 2006. After two seasons of associate membership, the Falcons achieved full membership of the British American Football League prior to the 2008 season.

The Falcons' first season in BAFL Division 2 Central ended with a 3–5–2 record, under head coach Danny Gaunt.

The 2009 season proved to be much better, with a regular season record of 7–2–1. Lester Hopewell took over as head coach, and led the Falcons to a playoff place. In the playoffs the Falcons beat Manchester Titans and Glasgow Tigers to reach their first championship game.[1] In a tight game Leicester Falcons defeated Colchester Gladiators 33:32 to become the BAFL Division 2 Champions for 2009.[2] This also secured promotion for the Falcons to play in BAFA Community Leagues Division 1.

The 2010 season contained a number of highlights. The team celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Leicester charity LOROS by holding their league match against Birmingham Bulls at the Welford Road ground of Leicester Tigers.[3] To crown the day the Falcons won a well-fought game to claim their first victory of the season 22 :15.[4] To bolster the team for the second half of the season the team signed ex-NFL quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt, who had previously played for Denver Broncos and subsequently Houston Texans. This had the desired effect and helped an improving team to win its next four matches and secure a wildcard place in the 2010 season play-offs. Despite having a weakened team the Falcons made the number 1 seeded team, East Kilbride Pirates, work very hard to secure their place in the semi-finals; the Falcons lost a close fought game by only two points.

Following a realignment of the teams in BAFACL Division 1 the Leicester Falcons played in the Central Conference in 2011. This proved to be a successful season for the Falcons, who finished top of the conference with a 9–1 record. However, in a controversial ending to the season, BAFANL stripped the Falcons of the conference title and deducted one game after being found to have not followed proper transfer procedure in the transfer of Jason Brisbane.[5] The Falcons therefore entered the playoffs as the #4 seed. In the playoffs, the Falcons beat Doncaster Mustangs in the quarter finals, before a famous upset win against top seeds London Olympians in the semifinal, to set up a rematch with East Kilbride Pirates at Britbowl XXV. This ended in a 62–23 defeat.

Following a divisional restructure, BAFA confirmed that the Falcons would be promoted to an expanded Premier Division for 2012, and will play in the Premier Division North. The Falcons began the season with two wins and a loss, before a controversial match against Doncaster Mustangs. Leicester won the match, but the result was overturned after BAFA determined the Falcons had fielded ineligible players. The fallout from this led to numerous players leaving, and the Falcons had to forfeit their remaining games. As a result, both head coach Stuart Franklin and interim GM Colin Branagh left their positions. The only Falcons organisation team to complete their season were the U16 youth team, who finished their inaugural season with a credible 3–9 record.

2013-present[edit]

Following the Falcons' relegation from the Premier League after the previous season's ordeals, the Falcons organisation took a step back and began to rebuild their team from the ground up. Following Ex-Chairman Guy Kersey's departure to the USA, Saul Freer took over as the Clubs Chairman and began a second stint as Head Coach of the team, leading a new player-run committee.

The new-look team, consisting mainly of rookie players, won their first game against Crewe Railroaders 34–26. The 2013 was a season of ups and downs, with an inexperienced squad the team played with a level of inconsistency, beating a number of teams handily, but managing to lose against some of the more experienced teams by large margins.

The Falcons finished the season with a 3-game win streak, clinching hard fought wins against long-standing rivals the Shropshire Revolution, Crew Railroaders and Lincolnshire Bombers to finish the season 6-4.

After a productive 2013 the Falcons have stated they are looking to build on last season’s successes, and are actively seeking new players with or without experience to join the team. The Leicester Falcons will once again be taking the field in 2014, supporting three different ages of football. Senior (18+) Junior (16-19) Youth (14-16)

The 2015 season saw the return of Guy Kersey and Head Coach Lester Hopewell, as well as a move to a new home ground, Leicester Road Stadium at De Montfort Park, Hinckley.[6][7] The Falcons qualified for the playoffs with a 7-3-0 regular season record, before succumbing to a 21-6 defeat to the Sandwell Steelers.[8]

Following a return to the playoffs in the 2015 season, the Falcons carried that momentum through the 2016 season, achieving an undefeated 10-0 regular season, leading the country in both points scored (497) and conceded (21). With home field advantage, the Falcons defeated division rivals Staffordshire Surge 60-0 and the Chester Romans 58-29 earning them a spot in the NFCII bowl game on the 11th September. Travelling to Leeds to take on the second seeded Newcastle Vikings, Leicester rode out 36-0 winners, securing their 9th shutout victory of the season and completing the perfect record of 13-0-0. The team earned promotion and will compete in Division 1 for the 2017 season, setting up potential local rivalries with the likes of Sandwell, Birmingham and Coventry.

Record[edit]

Year Division Record
2016 BAFANL National NFC 2 South 10-0-0*
2015 BAFANL National Central 7-3-0*
2014 BAFANL National Central 6-4-0
2013 BAFANL National Central 5-5-0
2012 BAFA Premier Division Northern Conference 3-7-0
2011 BAFA Division One Central Conference 7-3-0 *
2010 BAFA Division One Central Conference 6-3-1 *
2009 BAFA Division Two Central Conference 7-2-1 *
2008 BAFA Division Two Central Conference 3-5-2
2007 Association Year N/A
2006 Association Year N/A
* qualified for playoffs.

Italics denotes season on-going.

The Falcons Academy[edit]

As part of the team's continued growth and to help ensure its future, as well as to provide an entry point for teenagers who wish to enjoy the sport of American football, the Falcons are looking for the next generation of players to join the organisation.

The Falcons started a youth programme in the autumn of 2009 to fill the gap between junior Flag Football and adult contact football. In 2011, they entered the BAFACL Junior division for the first time and finished their inaugural season with a 1–7 record, with the sole win coming against Coventry Jets. 2011 also saw the debut of the Falcons' university team, in association with De Montfort University.

2012 saw the debut of an under 16 team, playing five a side contact football, and the restructure of the junior setup into the Falcons Academy. The youth team, coached by Karl Burgess and Joel Pearson, completed their first season with a 3–9 record.

2013 saw the Falcons Academy come on leaps and bounds, though the Falcons youth team returned only a handful of their players. Playing in a very competitive Midlands league, the Academy team played a number of successful teams, running eventual champions Birmingham Bulls close on a handful of occasions. The Academy went on to post a very acceptable 7–5 record, unfortunately fell just short of reaching the play offs.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]