American Football #BackTheBirds
The Solent Thrashers Academy is an American football team based in Southampton in the United Kingdom, providing access to organised, national level, competitive contact football for players aged between 14 and 19.
The club is entirely self-funded; Players pay an annual fee to play football, each player contributing £200 ($300) per year through the clubs fees.
As almost all our players are in full-time education, they rely on their parents to fund their place in the Solent Thrashers Academy.
We don’t want to increase the level of these fees, as we feel that it would be detrimental to our player acquisition and retention – and we are trying to build an American football academy that will be amongst the elite football programmes in the UK.
We have had success on an individual level, with players representing the club at international level with the GB Lions and Team Europe, and a few of our former players have progressed successfully to play at High School and College level in the US.
We are incredibly proud of this and we want that to continue – who knows, we may have the next Moritz Boehringer!
But. . .
- We need to replenish the team uniforms and protective equipment – we provide these for the players to ensure we play safely.
- We need to invest in training bags and pads, such as blocking sleds and tackle dummies, so that we can teach them the correct techniques from day one.
- We need to afford to practice and play at adequate football fields, with proper markings and a safe, controlled environment.
- We need to pay for transport to travel all over the UK to fulfil our schedule and give the guys every opportunity to play football.
The bottom line is. . . the financial costs of running an effective American football programme here in the UK now outstrip the money we are able to raise by annual fees – unless we nearly trebled the current fee, which we just can’t do as we feel that players will start to leave the sport if it becomes too expensive to play.
We have tried to obtain sponsorship from businesses in the UK, but as American football is a minority sport it’s incredibly difficult to find any kind of corporate sponsorship to fund the costs of running the two teams. That’s why we need to find a way to externally fund ourselves.
That’s where we hope you come in. . .
We have decided to turn to crowdfunding to raise money.
We realise that not many people are interested in channelling thousands of pounds or dollars into sponsorship of an amateur American football team based in the UK, but we are hoping that a few of you could, would or will chip in a few pounds or dollars to help us continue to develop the programme, and the kids in it.
We’re really not asking for thousands – although please feel free to give that amount if you want to!
What we are looking for is a lot of people to give relatively modest amounts. Even if it’s only £1 or $1 – every little bit really does help us.
If you can’t, or don’t want to, help financially, please retweet or share our link to this page on social media so that others can hear about this.
If you love American football like we love American football, then please #BackTheBirds, become part of the #BirdGang and help us to bring the greatest sport in the world to kids right here in the UK.
The Solent Thrashers
Credit to Jon ‘Genie’ Hunter for the video!