The 2016 season for the Sandwell Steelers Youth Team didn’t get off the ground, but with the turn of a new year, the Steelers are proud to announce the fielding of a Youth team for the upcoming season. With this great news, we feel it only best to share with you an insider look at the people behind this exciting branch of the organisation.
This year’s Youth Head Coach (HC) will be none other than steadfast Senior offensive lineman James Astley. James will be going into his first season as a Head Coach with an eagerness to teach these young ‘ballerz’ of the future all about the sport of American Football, and the discipline needed to be successful.
We spoke with James about the upcoming season and asked him for his thoughts.
SS: As you’re a rookie HC, how do you feel about your upcoming season with the Youth programme?
JA: I’m really excited to have been given this opportunity. I have been working within the previous youth set ups so when I was offered the role by the club it was an easy decision. I am looking forward to building a competitive side and helping the players develop.
SS: As the Steelers didn’t field a Youth side last year, what are your feelings on the upcoming season?
JA: With all the hard work the players and coaches have been putting in, I am confident about our ability. We are building a hard working, well-drilled side that will fight for every down and have fun at the same time.
SS: With being a rookie HC, what is it you are looking to instil within your players?
JA: I want the players to believe in themselves, the coaches and the programme. We have some fantastic coaches on board and that should reflect on the players over the forthcoming season.
SS: Whom have you tasked with the duties of coordinating?
JA: I wanted a mixture of experienced coaches and players willing to learn and this is exactly what I’ve done.
First of all, I have Anthony Green as Offensive Co-Ordinator. Ant has a wealth of experience behind him not only in being a great player for the Senior side, but also has a great coaching history working with the Steelers Women’s programme and the Birmingham Lions.
Next, we have Luke Jefferson as Defensive Co-Ordinator. Luke has many good seasons behind him at the Sandwell Steelers and is looking to develop as a coach, so I felt it was best to task him with the role of creating a resolute defense, ready to fight on every down.
Inderjit Singh Pharwaha will be the Offensive Assistant/Receivers Coach. Indy brings a fantastic effort to training in his willingness to learn and assist. He’s a real asset to the team and the receivers will gain great football knowledge from him.
Ian Llewellyn will be the Defensive assistant/ Linebackers Coach. Ian has worked hard to study the defensive side of football and is now passing that knowledge on. He is also a linebacker with the senior team, so we hope he will bring some of his steely toughness to some of the players.
And finally, no HC is complete without a family member in the backroom somewhere so I’ve bought in my brother Sam Astley as my Offensive/Defensive line coach. Sam has a fantastic playing history including two national championships one here at the Steelers and the other for the Portsmouth Destroyers in the BAFA university leagues.
James (left) with his brother Sam (right) after being crowned Division 2 champions in 2015.
SS: Final thoughts on the season ahead?
JA: I’m confident about the season coming up. We still have a lot of work to do and are still recruiting players for the season ahead. But we have some great talent within the ranks and are very positive about the road ahead!
With this announcement we asked Club Chairman and Youth offensive coordinator for a comment, this is what he had to say: “We are ecstatic to be fielding a Youth Team this year. We have also been fortunate enough to recruit a group of players with varying sports backgrounds and a tremendous amount of potential. We aim to build a programme with the same level of professionalism and expectations as our senior squad. We’ll develop the players first and foremost, and hopefully see results that speak for themselves.’
So if you’re aged 14-17 or know of someone who is, tell them to come and get involved.
For more information on any of our programmes please don’t hesitate to get in touch via Social Media or email: