Sandwell Steelers
Founded2013; 9 years ago (2013)
LeagueBAFA National Leagues
DivisionPremier Division North
LocationTipton, West Midlands
StadiumTipton Sports Academy
ColoursBlack Helmets
Grey, Black and Yellow Jerseys
Grey Pants
Head coachPaul Kent
General managerRob Amor
Division titles3: 2015, 2016, 2019
Playoff berths5: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Websitewww.sandwellsteelers.com
Uniforms

The Sandwell Steelers are an American football team based in Tipton, West Midlands, England, that competes in the BAFA National Leagues Premier Division North, the highest level of British American Football. They operate from Tipton Sports Academy and were formed in 2013. The Steelers earned promotion to Division One in their second ever season an have won 3 Division titles in their 5 years as a BAFA League team. In 2019 they were promoted to the Premier Division North beating Northumberland Vikings in the NFC 1 Bowl game. The club also operate a selection Youth, Junior and Women's American Football teams.

History

The Steelers were formed in 2013, and lost their first game in the associate process to the Shropshire Revolution 42–12. In 2014, they were granted full BAFA status[1] and placed in the National Leagues Central division, in the second tier of the British league structure.[2] They would finish the season bottom of the division with a 2–8 record, defeating the Lincolnshire Bombers and Leicester Falcons in their debut season.

After a realignment in league structure for 2015, the Steelers were placed in the third tier in the NFC2 South.[3] Under head coach Jay Alexander, The Steelers finished with a perfect 10–0 record atop their division, and beat the Leicester Falcons and Newcastle Vikings before defeating the Peterborough Saxons 24–7 in the NFC2 Bowl at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds.[4]

After promotion, they were placed in the Midlands Football Conference 1. They finished with a 9–1 record, and were eliminated from the playoffs by eventual Division 1 National Champions, the Bury Saints. Following this game, Jay Alexander stepped down as head coach, and was replaced by former Birmingham Lion and Steelers' O-Line and assistant head coach, Ross Barrow.[5] After another realignment, the Steelers were placed in the Northern Football Conference 1 South, and were considered amongst the favourites for promotion to the Premier division.[6]

In week two of the 2017 season, the Steelers set a new club record for their biggest victory, defeating the Coventry Jets 71–0.[7] Ahead of the 2018 season, Ross Barrow stepped down from the role of head coach, and was replaced by former Brunel University defensive co-ordinator Maxwell Petitjean.[8]

In 2019, the Steelers completed a perfect regular season in the NFC1 South.[9] In the post-season, they came back from a twenty-point deficit to defeat the East Kilbride Pirates, and defeated the #2 seed Northumberland Vikings in the northern final to secure promotion to the premier division for the first time in their history.[10]

Facilities

The Steelers play their home games at the Tipton Sports Academy,[11] a multi-purpose sports stadium with a 2,000 capacity, 208 of which is seated, which they share with Tipton Town F.C..

They train at the nearby RSA Academy.[12]

Youth Team

In conjunction with the Birmingham Bulls and the Birmingham Lions, the Steelers field a junior team in national competition.[13]

They field their own youth team in the regional under-17s league, and currently play in the Midlands division.[14] They were entered into competition in 2016, but failed to complete their season.[15]

Women's team

The Sandwell Steelers Women's team was formed in January 2014 [16] and compete in a number of different formats. In August 2014, the team competed in their first friendly game against the Chester Romans at home, securing their first ever victory winning 35–0. In 2015 the team entered the BAFA leagues competing in their first 5v5 full contact Sapphire Series finishing 11th out of 13 teams.

In 2016, the league was restructured due to the influx of new women's teams and the Steelers entered the 5v5 Sapphire Series in Division 2 South, competing in four rounds and eight games.[17] In 2017, the Steelers competed in the 5v5 Sapphire Series in the Division 2 North & West Conference competing in four rounds and eight games and finished with their first ever winning season with a 5–3 record, placing third in the Division 2 North & West.[18]

In 2018, the Steelers moved up to the 7v7 format of the game and competed in the Sapphire Series in the Division 2A North Conference taking part in four rounds and eight games. Sandwell went into Round 4 top of the North so skipped straight to the semi-finals, ultimately winning against the Wembley Stallions 27–7. Sandwell advanced to the finals against the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts and lost 18–14, securing second place in the Division.[19] In 2018/19 the Steelers were promoted to Division 1. The Steelers won their opening game against Portsmouth but lost all subsequent games finishing 3rd in the Conference.

In 2019, some of the Steelers joined ranks with local rival the Birmingham Lions to play an 11v11 fixture against the Arlanda Jets in Stockholm. The game ending 7–0 to Arlanda. A number of the Steelers Women have represented the GB Lions since their inception.[20] Steelers current head coach Sam Rafferty is also defensive line coach for the women's GB team for 2019.

Hall Of Fame

The Steelers announced the creation of a Hall of Fame in 2019, with former player, coach and club chairman Anthony Green the inaugural member.

Inductee Year Role
Anthony Green 2019 Player, Coach, Chairman

Staff

Sandwell Steelers staff

Front office

  • Chairman – Rob Amor
  • Director without portfolio – Anthony Green
  • Finance director – Rob Jones
  • Adult Operations – Stuart Andrew
  • Women's operations – Samantha Wilson
  • Youth operations – Jay Alexander

Senior team

  • Head coach, Offensive Co-ordinator & QB coach - Paul Kent
  • Defensive Co-ordinator - Sam Kendall/Inderjit Pharwaha (interim)
  • Offensive line – Sam Astley
  • Running Backs - Alex Mackenzie-Grist
  • Wide Receivers - Jamie Kelly
  • Special teams -Danny An Khoi Vu
  • Defensive line – Gary Hodgen
  • Linebackers – Inderjit Pharwaha
  • Defensive backs – Stuart Andrew

Women's team

  • Head coach – Sam Rafferty
  • Offensive co-ordinator – Jay Alexander
  • Defensive co-ordinator – Sam Rafferty

[21]

Men's Roster

Sandwell Steelers – 2019 Senior Roster

Quarterbacks

  • Zac Green
  • Tristan Varney (C)

Running backs & full backs

  • Ross Barrow
  • Raph Chisholm
  • Thomas Czerepaninec
  • Leigh French
  • Ash James

Wide receivers & tight ends

  • Ben Bray
  • Joe Guntrip
  • Luke Harbourne
  • Louis Haines
  • Steve Kinnersley
  • Gavin Lawrence
  • James Lowe
  • Alex Mackenzie-Grist
  • Deivydas Merkelis
  • Marc Parsons
  • Alex Salter
  • Kris Wedderburn
  • Austyn Young

Offensive linemen

  • Sam Astley
  • Sam Banner
  • Kieran Fairfield
  • Karol Kolbiarz
  • Charlie Neale
  • Stewart Smith
  • Kevin Berrisford Thomas
  • Peter Wilson
  • Keiron Chamberlain
  • Mason Hussain
  • James Astley
  • Kyle Woodhouse

Defensive linemen

  • Adam Bates
  • Ian Llewellyn
  • Martin Perry (C)
  • Inderjit Pharwaha
  • Sam Rafferty
  • Reyhan Yaman

Linebackers

  • Oheeul Choudhury
  • Josh Humpage
  • Matthew Huetson
  • Richard Kilvington
  • Jordan Langford
  • Connor Monkman
  • Gareth Rees
  • Alex Roofe
  • Sam Waterhouse-Morris
  • Dan Williams

Defensive backs

  • Zain Ahmed
  • Sam Busher
  • Rob Jones
  • Jack Miles
  • Peter Roden (C)
  • Gareth Thomas
  • Paul Zinkus
  • Andy Wilson

Injury reserve

  • Declan Evans
  • Colin Reeves
  • Jonathan Varney (C)

Rookies in Italics

Women's Roster

Sandwell Steelers – 2020 Women's Roster
  • Charlie Board
  • Lauren 'Hands' Carrington
  • Vicki Cecconi
  • Libby Davoren
  • Rose Hayward
  • Georgia Kent-Williams
  • Sophia Klair
  • Alicia Marcella
  • Joan McLaughlin
  • Cat Moylan
  • Grace Newey
  • Amber Norbury
  • Ele Rafferty
  • Emily Raybould
  • Natalie Talbot
  • Victoria Ware
  • Ellie Welch

Seasonal Records

Men's Team

Season League Regular Season Record Post Season? Awards
Wins Losses Ties
2014 BAFA National Central 2 8 0 No n/a
2015 BAFA Northern Conference South 2 10 0 0 Yes Division Champions, National Champions
2016 BAFA Midlands Football Conference 1 9 1 0 Yes Division Champions
2017 BAFA Northern Conference South 1 7 3 0 Yes n/a
2018 BAFA Northern Conference South 1 7 2 1 Yes n/a
2019 BAFA Northern Conference South 1 10 0 0 Yes Division Champions
2020 BAFA Premier Division North 0 0 0 n/a Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
Total 45 14 1 All-time regular season record
1 National Championship, 3 Divisional Championships

Women's Team

Season League Season Record Position
Wins Losses Ties
2015 BAFA Sapphire Series 5v5 2 5 0 11th
2016 BAFA Sapphire Series 5v5, Division 2 South 4 4 0 3rd
2017 BAFA Sapphire Series 5v5, Division 2 North & West 5 3 0 3rd
2018 BAFA Sapphire Series 7v7, Division 2a North 3 2 1 2nd
2018/19 BAFA Sapphire Series 7v7, Division 1 South 1 7 0 3rd
Total 15 21 1


Notes