Published: 05:00, 11 November 2021
| Updated: 09:16, 15 November 2021
By Remy Cabache
A local American football player will represent Great Britain after being named in the national squad.
Tyrrell Bovelle, 23, plays running back for the Canterbury-based East Kent Mavericks in the British American Football Association’s (BAFA) national leagues.
The Great Britain Men’s National Programme held open try-outs for the team, evaluating 192 players, and Bovelle beat 132 of them to make the coveted 60 who are now part of a 100-strong practice squad.
“It’s all still sinking in, really,” said Bovelle. “I’ve been playing for such a long time and it has always been something I’ve looked up to.
“For me to get there and do it… it’s actually crazy. I love it.”
Bovelle started his American football journey nearly nine years ago, joining the Mavericks under-19s’ team aged just 15 - not yet old enough to fully participate in competitive games.
He has risen through the ranks, staying with them through success and struggles, and is now one of the stars of the over-19s’ (senior) team.
The Mavericks currently play in Division 2, the lowest of BAFA’s national leagues, as they rebuild the squad following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bovelle is only the fourth player from the team to be selected into the Men’s National Programme and the first since 2007 when Dave Squires (offensive line), Dudley Ross (linebacker) and Al Jenkins (defensive line) were called up.
In the past, the national programme has been accused of being a ‘closed book’, as said by current head coach Jason Scott on the Full10Yards American Football Podcast.
He explained: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. We want to have players open themselves up for the programme.”
BAFA announced the open try-out in September and the coaching staff ultimately evaluated 511 applications - with players submitting video highlights reels alongside traditional records of achievement - before hosting the final 192 players at the University of Nottingham.
Bovelle said: “I saw the application, and I’d always wanted to do it, so I thought, ‘let me have a go!’.
The Mavericks have built a programme with four teams for ages nine-plus over the last 13 years, winning six championships.
“The other players are all on Premiership teams, and a lot have been to Europe,” said Bovelle. “Then there’s me with a Division 2 team.
“I felt like an underdog to say the least.”
Last month the team invited the 60 successful players to the initial 100-player practice squad, joining the 40 existing members of the team. Bovelle was one of them and the sacrifices are now worthwhile.
“I’ve invested a lot of time and money into this sport,” he said. “Now, all that time and training has paid off, all my time with the Mavs, the time in the gym.
“This is where I always wanted to be, and now it’s come up. It’s almost a dream come true… well, it literally is.”