Over 380 players tried out at the University of Hertfordshire and the JMO Sports Complex in Skelmersdale, with two invite only try-outs featuring players from the previous Great Britain Junior squad, as well as players who had been scouted throughout the course of the 2019 season, and two open try-outs for all players who wanted to try out for the team. At the end of the two trials Coach McMaster and his staff selected the best payers across all positions and age groups.
On the selections, Coach McMaster said: “It’s always an exciting time when we get to see the best players across the UK and make our selections. It’s an incredibly difficult process for coaches, as it is and always will be incredibly subjective based on our team needs, and we always see the potential in players, so it’s difficult to make the cuts. We’re excited with the players we have in our Performance squad, and their ability to compete quickly, and our development players are the future of the programme, and some of the potential in that group is absolutely frightening. I want to thank all the players for their enthusiasm and attitudes towards improving, all the parents and guardians for spending their time supporting their kids and the programme, and to our coaching staff, for evaluating everyone and writing individual feedback letters to all the players who weren’t selected this time. It means a lot!”
Explaining a bit more about the process, McMaster said: “Our Performance squad is essentially our Under 19 squad - it’s the team that will play games and compete in IFAF competitions. Our Development squad is set up to ensure that we close the gap as much as possible between 5v5 domestic league and 11v11 international competition. If we can keep players in that programme for a year or two before they graduate up, that experience and exposure to 11v11 football will start to see a big turnaround in the Performance squad’s ability to compete on the European and hopefully world stage.”
“It’s also important to me that we spread our roster out across the age ranges as best we can to ensure we simply aren’t an All-Star team. We want to run more like an NCAA programme, and our roster reflects this. Our squad split across Seniors, Juniors and Sophomore players is even, which allows us to develop players in the system, and means we are constantly recruiting for big numbers, rather looking to replace old with new every year, as players graduate and backfill. As an example, if we take 15 Offensive Linemen, our starting point was always 5 born in 2001, 5 born in 2002 and 5 born in 2003. It may not always balance out quite as evenly as that but breaking it down this way ensures that we have a roster that we can develop and will get better over time.”
The squads will meet for a first practice at Telford College on 30 November for the Performance Squad and 1 December for the Development Squad.
The players selected for the Great Britain Lions Junior Squad are:
Performance Squad - 91 Players
QB:- Josh Allsebrook, Marco Livi, George Reynolds, Alex Stocks
RB:- Matt Black, Jordan Cottam, Temiloluwa Fagbemi, Joshua Fellows, Chris Gbenla, Elliot Harvey, Thomas Jones, Andre Muti, Leonardo Walter-Dabo.
OL:- Matthew Allen, Ajay Benning, Cameron Blair, Nathan Cave, Oscar Devos, George Fear, Christian Hall, Daniel Kane, Daniel Oates, Freddie Pelling, Charlie Plumb, Oliver Robinson, Chris Sapey, Owen Seddon, Toby Spalinger, Jake Wright
TE:- David Ani, Dede Okoro, Morgan Reeves, Seydou Traore
WR:- Issai Aluko, Noah Beddow, Nathan Bench, Taylor Bloor, Riley Davis, Louis Hall, Jacob Mann, Joe Perkins, Niall Simpson, Luke Sweeney, Tyriq Taiwo, Brad Temple, Zak Thompson, Callum Wilson
DL:- Luke Ashman, Ché Biviano, Jack Byrne, Daniel Calder, Timothy Caroe, Amrit Chatha, Abdullah Khan, Jonathon Letham, Noah Phelps, Abdulrazeg Senussi, Harry Terry, Luke van Eldik, Elvis Webster
LB:- Nathaniel Adeniyi, Alex Ames, Aaron Ashton, Oliver Bosanko, Fahad Chowdhary, Rekem Ereku, Nikolas Frost, Maxwell Griffin, Fraser Holden, Michael Home, Donnell Irungo, Jordan Lee, Alexander Littlewood, Daniel Opanski, Joe Ridgewell, Will Rooney, Charlie Stokes
DB:- Kareem Akarakiri, Danylo Blackburn, Levitis Burke-Astorino, Liam Cole, Thurston Ford, Tion Fortune, Oscar Gourley, Sonny Hack, Makoto Kimura-Phalon, Ben Lerpniere-Symes, Calem Lewis-Thomas, Oscar O'Connor, Dylan Pole, Malique Tomlinson
Development Squad - 78 Players
QB:- Sam Fenton, Will Lacey, Bailey Man, Huseyin Simsir
RB:- Ross Carr, Benjamin Crosby, Sam Geddes, Conor Hindman, Teddy Hope, Jacob King, Harry Wainwright, Thomas Waterman, Fergus White, Kieran Yawson
OL:- Jake Baucutt, Ramari Bennett, Vinnie Burbage, Kevin DeMenezes, Cameron Dwyer, Murray Easton, Sam Harris, Caleb Hinnigan, Will Jacques, Olayiwola Mogaji, Isaac Oldcorn, Makynli-Ellis Rouse
WR:- Callum Boden, Harry Buckland, Peter Clarke, Ben Coxhill, Robert Davey, Ruben Depasois, Daniel Keelan, Thomas McCartney, Nathan Megran, Ben Nelson, Reid Whitelaw, William Wright
DL:- Callum Bright, Sam Gair, Theo Hadcroft-Plummer, Elliot Harbidge, Elsaid Jukaj, Akeem Livermore, Dominic Lucas, Oskar Oldcorn, Kayode Oteh, Kieran Park, Aidan Robinson, Kasper Siewic
LB:- James Aubrey-Williams, Aston Balment, Joe Campbell, Miles Cluskey, Fletcher Cornwall, Alessandro Di Criscio-Pazienza, Gabriel Douglas, Marshall Easton, Samuel Edwards, Alex Gargini-Hill, Brandon Goodair, Adam Headley, Edward Martin, George Murphy, Tyrese Satha, Lennon Shaw
DB:- Chikezie Bunting, Sands Christie, PJ Hudson, Vinnie Maxfield, Bryn Mendes-Lewis, Max Nissim, Daniel Peach, Daniel Schofield, Alfie Thompson, Joshua Wake, Oliver Williams