Student Life 

American Football: So What’s the Catch?

If you are looking for a sport, for a community, for some improvement, or for a reason to walk further than your mailbox, the American flag football team might be worth a try.

09 Nov 2020   2 min read

overlay graphic American Football: So What’s the Catch?

It all started when British Rugby came to the United States in the 1860s.

Through 160 years of head injuries, rule changes, and multinational rivalries, American Football has crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Ulster University to welcome students from all courses.

Living in a time when traveling from your desk to your mailbox is considered “getting out,” staying active has never been more essential to the wellbeing of students.

Finding ways to get active can be a daunting task, but with a team behind you, it does not have to be.

The American flag football team at Ulster University in Coleraine is a unique springboard for students to get active while connecting with students from both across the country and across the world.

Whether you cheer for your American football team over a pint every Sunday night or simply wonder why the sport is named football if you do not use your feet, you will find a like-minded player on the Ulster Elks team.

In a typical season, we play ten matches all across Northern Ireland in non-contact flag football with training every Wednesday on the 3G pitch at UUC.

Every year the team welcomes new players across all skill levels, courses, genders, and countries.

The Ulster Elks foster teamwork and cooperation, as well as lifelong friendships. From surprise birthday parties to study groups, the Ulster Elks offer a community beyond zoom calls.

Another piece that feels lost in the puzzle of attending university in 2020.

American Football at Ulster

When I first came to Ulster University from the United States, I did not know anyone on campus - let alone anyone in Northern Ireland.

I joined the flag football team on a whim at the Freshers Fair, and have since met amazing people, traveled to incredible places, and accomplished goals I never thought plausible.

I do not consider myself athletically gifted, and I was nervous about joining a sports team at university.

I figured all the existing players would consider me 12,000 leagues under the sea of athletic adequacy. Instead, I found every player put my success ahead of their own. I developed a new skill without trading in the currency of my confidence.

I quickly learned that the Ulster Elks’ priorities were not solely on victory like my preconceptions suggested but instead on improvement. Improvement of what is up to each player, another distinctive component of the team.

American Football at Ulster

If you are looking for a sport, for a community, for some improvement, or for a reason to walk further than your mailbox, the American flag football team might be worth a try.

I was able to find a sense of home 4,000 miles away, all while developing my ability to touch my toes and throw a football in the rain.

It is one day a week where there is a sense of blissful normality on the pitch, and the only catches are the ones you will be making.

Joining a society at Ulster University Students' Union will guarantee that your time at Ulster is unforgettable! With over 90 Societies to choose from, there's something to suit everyone.


  Student Life 

Have you got a story ?

If you have a story you would like to share please get in touch.

#WeGotThis