Riley makes history as one of the first-ever GB Junior American Footballers
An elite sporting teenager will make history as one of the first-ever players to represent Great Britain in an American Football match in Austria.
Fourteen-year-old Riley Read, a Year 10 student at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, has secured a place in Team GB’s Under 17 American Football Team. As a result of his excellent performance during the season, Riley was chosen to attend two training sessions with the top 100 boys nationally and was selected to represent his country. This is a fantastic achievement for Riley who has been playing for one year and at only 14 years old, he is one of the youngest players in the Under 17 team with the majority of his peers being 2-3 years older than him.
The squad are heading to Vienna, Austria on 25th November for the first-ever Under 17 game against Austria. Riley will play the position of Defensive Lineman where his role in the team is to stop the other team from scoring and to try and “sack” (tackle) the opposing team’s quarterback.
Riley said: “I have really found my sport with American Football – it’s exciting and challenging and it’s great to be part of such a supportive and positive club. I am so proud to have been chosen to represent Team GB and although I was a little daunted at the start, after attending some training sessions and getting to know the rest of the team I feel completely at home with the squad and we are all really motivated and determined.”
Riley originally played rugby for Wensleydale RUFC until he was 12, but chose to focus on American football after his interest was triggered by watching the National Football League with his Dad. Riley’s stature is well suited to American Football and after searching for a local team he joined Yorkshire Assassins after being invited to their training ground at Leeds Beckett University. Riley trains each Saturday morning during the season, which runs from October through to July.
The Yorkshire Assassins are in Division 1 North which is a league of 12 with teams including Darlington Steam, Gateshead Senators, Northumberland Vikings, Lincolnshire Bombers, Chorley Buccaneers and Sheffield Giants. During the 2021/22 season the Yorkshire Assassins Under 16s won 11 games out of 12 which resulted in them qualifying first in their division for the “Britbowl” as the UK’s no.5 ranked team. The tournament was a play-off style which was held in Cambridge in July, where they faced the best teams from the other divisions across the UK. They ended up finishing 6th overall in the UK. This was a fabulous experience for Riley and gave him a taste of his first major competition.
Jenna Potter, Headteacher at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, said: “This is a tremendous achievement for Riley. To be chosen to represent his country at such a young age and in a sport that he is a relative newcomer to is hugely impressive. We are really proud of Riley and wish him and his team mates the very best for their first-ever GB American Football game.”