Team Kent Sports Spotlight: American Football

Back to another edition of Sports Spotlight, InQuire interviewed three crucial members from the University of Kent (UKC) American Football Team, The Falcons. Heading the interview is Alfie Murray, who is a second year, studying economics and is the Secretary for the Sport, playing as defence. His position on pitch is Free Safety. Next up is Tom Cox, Social Secretary for the club and also plays defence as Weak Safety. He is also a second year. Last but not least is Myles King, third year physics student who is Vice-President for the club and plays O-Line.

The team were undefeated last year in the regular season, won the South East 1A conference and made it to the national semi-final. The Falcons also won Team of the Year 2017-18. The committee discuss their start to the season, hoping to continue their victory.

Q. How is the season going so far?

Alfie (Secretary): Season is going almost perfectly so far, we ran into a speedbump against Canterbury Christ Church University Chargers (CCCU) and it was worrying for part of the game, but it was still two wins. The score line against Imperial of 78-0 says itself, and CCCU, we will get them better in Varsity. They are a better team than Imperial, they came ready to play and we were still on our couches. It took us a quarter or two to whip into shape, but by the second half we got them good. When we next meet them, it’ll be nothing to worry us.

Tom (Social Secretary): Coming into the season, I didn’t know how we were going to do considering we lost a lot of key players last year. But it is obvious who has been putting the work in over summer and it’s been showing in these first matches. We went into the CCCU a bit cocky, so as it went on we stepped it up.

Myles (Vice President): We started with the best of a Falcon win, ever. So that’s always great. But obviously with the games, you’re never sure how they’re going to do. Feeling pretty confident though, I think we’re going to do better than last year. The big win made people cocky though, defence had a good game but offense needed to work more to finish.

Q. You get a lot of support at your games, do you think that drives you to do better?

Alfie: Definitely. The supporters from cheerleaders to players to friends and family – a player’s family member came from Spain for the Imperial match – which really helps us and gets us through the finish line.

Tom: When you’ve got lots of players on the pitch and lots of support from the side, it makes it harder for the opposing team to know what is going on and that really does help our team.

Myles: There’s been people this year who have no relation to the team but come down and watch the game because they’ve heard about us last season and what we achieved last year. It feels great to know that something you’re doing brings joy to other people. Makes the team go further.

Q. Do you have any players to watch out for?

Alfie: Our quarterback Ben is the best quarterback in this division. One of the best in the south of England. The game runs through him. He does the job so well.

Rakim Jackson, the American scholar is so fast and aggressive, the most athletic player we’ve ever seen.

Tom: Since summer, Tom Goddard and Josh Hersant have really improved and our really going to help are offense.

Rookies this year have been quality, they’re a lot better than we were.

Myles: There’s a lot of good players who have worked over summer. I’d have to say the seven in the box are a mean bunch and I wouldn’t want to go against any of them.

Q. You recently hosted a Black and White themed charity ball. How would you rate the success of your event?

Alfie: The ball was a huge success, we made a lot of money for the team to help us get equipment in order to move forward. It was fun for everyone. The rain put a bit of a dampen on the mood but nothing is going to ruin black and white ball. Not this year. Not in years to come.

Tom: Really successful, lots of different people turned up from different societies which contributed to it being a really good night for all those involved.

Myles: A lot of people who came last year came back. A lot of players on years abroad came back just for this event, and it is probably the biggest event we have. Record breaking numbers – the auctions we had were very successful and raised a lot of money. Could not have asked for much better.

Alfie: The raffle and the auction was incredibly successful. Thank you to the donations from various companies and sponsors.

Q. How are your socials going in general?

Tom: This year there is no line between rookies (freshers) and returners. There is a lot of integration between the teams, which makes everyone feel better.

Myles: After game parties are really good, we always play on the Sunday and, when I first joined you’d have your game on the Sunday, win, be pumped up, hyped up and then you’d go home and go to bed. But now, it is becoming a tradition that after every game we’ll socialise and celebrate with one another. Rookies, returners, other societies, cheer, celebrating together. Everyone is there having fun.

Q. Do you prefer the social side or the playing side?

Alfie: It’s two completely different things, but if I had to choose, I’d give up the social side just because I have so much pride for the team. I wouldn’t like to be a social member without the play time. The enjoyment from socials with our society particularly comes from the victory and success of the team. Our team is a big name on campus because of how well we are doing, and if we didn’t go undefeated last year, would people even be enjoying the socials as much or the after parties as much? No. So the socials and the fun comes from the game play.

Tom: I feel like I have to say socials, but you can’t have one without the other. It wouldn’t be that good without people from the field turning up to socials. We are a team because we do both together, and if you take one away we wouldn’t be as much of a team.

Myles: Similar to Alfie, I’d pick the game. There’s a lot of sports teams at Kent and a lot of them have socials. They can have fun like everyone else. But we have a lot of players who are committed to the team, who put in a lot of work. It is a great reward.

Q. What has been your highlights in terms of campaigns throughout the year?

Tom: We’ve advertised games a lot more, getting people to come watch and get invested in the team.

Myles: Probably a lot of the work we’ve done with Kent Sport and Kent Union. We won Team of the Year last year, and KU have worked with us and supported us with getting the word out. We have been rewarded for our hard work.

Alfie: When we go undefeated, and we will go undefeated as we made it through to the southern finals last year, they gave it to us before so how could they not give it to us again this year.

Tom: We should still go into the season with the same attitude, not thinking we are going to win Team of the Year and just do at least as well as we did last year.

Q. You were one of the most heavily involved Sports teams with the This Kent Girl Can Campaign, which really stood out to InQuire. Do you think your inclusivity has improved this year even more so?

Alfie: Last year, we had one girl on the team. But this year, we’ve had more. Not even just the disparity with gender, everyone is welcome. There are people from so many different walks of life. Everyone comes together at our social events, regardless of disparity in culture.

Tom: On the field, it doesn’t matter where you are from. We are all a family and we all work together.

Myles: A lot of people don’t know that the team is a mixed team, we play against girls and we play on the field with girls. We’ve gained more individuals, and the people we have had join love being part of the team. We may not have many women on our team, but I think it will get bigger with the campaign and more people know that we are a mixed team. Girls can play.

Q. What are your biggest hopes for the future?

Alfie: Go undefeated, win everything again. Be even bigger on campus. Continue the legacy that both of our committees have carried on with great organisation, managing the team really well and good fundraisers. A good vibe around the team.

Tom: Once you’ve been in Falcons, you realise it is a family. When we leave, we want to leave something behind. Bigger team, bigger family.

Myles: Legacy. Tools for the team to develop and get better. The Falcons have incredible growth, if we keep that up that would be great for the team. It’s gone from nothing to where we are now.

Tom: Come watch our games, you may enjoy them.

Myles: Thank you to everyone who supports us. It helps the team so much.

Alfie: Watch out for us this season. Come to all our games, follow our social medias. The name Kent Falcons will keep getting bigger.

The teams next match is Sunday 9th December against Imperial.

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