We were very proud to have three members of Jason Henry’s U19 National Championship-winning team represent the Europe Warriors in Mexico against the Mexican U19 team in December.
We interviewed Aaron Mahoney-Jones, Domonyc Steer and Kobi Champion about their experience, and about how they first got into American football.
How did you first get into American football?
Domonyc: I was always a big kid who liked contact. I never really enjoyed soccer because they would always call fowl, and I found rugby boring, so my cousin started to train me in American football.
Kobi: I watched a YouTube video of college football and thought to myself: 'I could do that’
When did you start playing, and when did you start at the London Blitz?
Aaron: I started playing properly for the Blitz in 2014. I was actually thinking of joining the Warriors after seeing my uncles play, but a friend from school told me I should join the Blitz instead.
Domonyc: I started playing in 2014 at the Warriors, but in 2017 they didn’t have a full team, so I transferred to the Blitz.
Kobi: I started playing July 2015.
What was the selection process for the Europe Warriors?
Kobi: Bart Iaccarino, the athletic director of the Europe Warriors, messaged me on Europlayers asking me if I wanted to play for them.
Domonyc: Aaron told me that the team needed a player like me, so I enquired and they gave me the opportunity.
What were the preparation in the run up to the Mexico game?
Aaron: I’ve been preparing for two years for situations like this with likes of Germain, Dom, Mike, the rest of DSA, and the Blitz, so it was the same prep, and then 2-a-days and film when we hit Mexico.
Domonyc: We would train together outside of the scheduled training, working on routes and foot drills. Aaron and I would work each other to our limits to ensure we were totally ready.”
What were the most challenging parts of the experience?
Aaron: Not being able to speak Spanish.
Domonyc: Forming a team with people you don’t know in a week.
Kobi: Mentally preparing for the game.
What were your favourite parts?
Aaron: Being able to play 11-a-side for my first time, being on the starting line-up, and making new friends.
Domonyc: Playing and training one last time with my boys, and knowing that I was representing Jamaica and Britain.
Kobi: Meeting new people, making new friends, and playing in México
What will you take on with you from the experience?
Aaron: Understanding football from an 11-a-side perspective at a high level.
Domonyc: “That this is just the beginning, and I can go a lot further than where I am right now.
Kobi: The new techniques our DB coach taught us, and an understanding of where football can take me in life.
The Final score in the game was 57-7 to Mexico. Whilst the final result was not what the team had hoped for, considering they had only met and trained together for the first time that week, they put in an incredible performance. The experience itself will be something Aaron, Domonyc and Kobi will remember for a long time, and could well be the stepping stone to further experiences and success at an even higher level.
After his experience with Europe Warriors, a successful season with the London Blitz U19s, and training with DSA, Aaron will be joining Blitz alum Bamidele Olaseni at Garden City Community College in Kansas. He has already flown out and is working hard to establish himself. Aaron also wanted to thank the DSA and the Hertfordshire Hurricanes for helping him prepare for the trip.
Kobi is currently rehabbing from an injury he sustained during the Mexico game. He plans to attend the ‘pro football hall of fame’ camp he was invited to, and then to take it from there. It’s a really exciting opportunity for Kobi and we wish in all the best.
Domonyc’s plans for the year are to go to America, and he will be training with the London Blitz senior team during pre-season.
We will be following the guys in their quest to be part of the next group of successful Brits to make it in the US, and will be routing for them all the way!