SWINDON Storm helped to nurture a new breed of American football players on Monday night when they held their rookie trials for the 2014 season.

Close to 40 prospective players attended the event at Isambard School, many of whom had never experienced the sport before having only watched the NFL on Sunday evenings from the comfort of their sofas.

The hopefuls were put through a variety of fitness tests including a bleep test, a 40-yard sprint and a broad jump, similar to what the NFL use to assess the skills of college graduates looking to make it in the professional ranks at their annual combine in Indianapolis.

After their fitness was assessed the players were taught the basic skills of American football before being able to try it for themselves where they were judged by the club’s coaching staff.

Head coach Steve Bennett organised the event and was impressed with what he saw: “Tonight was a massive success for the club,” he said. “I was very impressed by the commitment and energy all of the new guys had.

“The club is growing at a fast pace in anticipation of our second season in the British league, and a number of these new rookies will be essential in helping us succeed.”

Gordon Basley, one of the rookies who attended the event and was successful in earning a spot on the squad said: “Having only just discovered that Swindon had its own American football team I was excited to attend trials. I think the game is awesome,” he said.

“The bleep test was tough, but I pulled myself back with good overall results both in the remainder of the fitness tests and out on the field in the skills tests.

“I was very happy to be offered a place on the squad and I can’t wait for my first full training session.”

The are further chances to join the Storm ranks at one of their beginner’s training session which are held on Saturday afternoons at Swindon RFC on Greenbridge Road.

For more information email steve.bennett@swindonstorm.org.uk.