A new coach has brought American football fever to Kingston University and has taken our home team, the Cougars, under his wing.

American football tackles Kingston University

Ex-Ireland National American Football coach, Phil DeMonte, kicked off the season with the team’s first official training session on Tuesday night, which attracted nearly 100 spectators.  

Team president Wasilij Korochenko plans to take American football to the top of the popularity stakes.

“We want this game to be as popular as football here in Kingston,” he said. “Everyone has a chance to play for us. All we’re looking for is passion and commitment from anyone who joins.”

This is the first year there will be an individual Kingston American football team as previously it was a joint venture with the Surrey Stingers.

DeMonte, from New York, who had previously been in charge of the Irish and Welsh national teams, headed a gruelling session full of intense workouts with Kingston students at Tolworth Sports Ground.

“He [Phil] was impressed about our passion for the game,” said President Korochenko. “His workout was ridiculous and that was only the beginning! There’s going to be two more minutes each session added on for the warm up. Everyone has rung me to say how much they’re aching!”

Korochenko and Vice President Greg Linden had approached De Monte at the end of last term about coaching the team.

“I spoke to the guys before I took the role on, and they were a great bunch. I’m impressed with the turnout tonight and hopefully we can get seven or eight games by the end of the year,” De Monte said. “After Christmas, we’re hoping for another three games before the varsity against Surrey.”

“We’ll look to set up a rivalry with Royal Holloway as they’re just down the road and then take things from there.”

Training for American football is every Tuesday night from 8 to 10 o’clock at Tolworth Sports Ground.

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