A LITTLE corner of the North East will become all-American this weekend when the region’s American Football club, the DC Presidents, start their 2013 season.
The Presidents take on the highly-rated Edinburgh Wolves at the Esh Stadium in Belmont, Durham this Sunday – doors opening 1pm, kick-off 2.30pm – and although the Durham side only completed its first season in the National British league last year, it goes into the new campaign in rude health.
After finding their feet in the league last season, the club has been working busily over the last six months on preparations and improvements.
And the club’s management team have been very active in recruiting throughout the winter, having signed five new coaches including GB junior coach Ben Johnson and more than 40 new players, with many having joined from other clubs.
That now gives the Presidents well over 60 players and and eight qualified coaches, with some players coming from as far afield as Halifax and Whitehaven.
The team has also linked in with the growing popularity of the sport at university level, recruiting new players from all five local university teams in the North East – the Teesside Cougars, Newcastle Raiders, Sunderland Spartans, Northumbria Mustangs and Durham Saints – who are all represented playing for the DC.
Another part of the club that is growing is the team’s junior section, which will also be competing in its second year at National League level.
Also new this year is the formation of the club’s cheerleading squad, the Liberty Belles, who will be making their debut at the Edinburgh game as well.
Over-15 girls from all over the region have been training since Christmas and the troupe are still looking for new members.
One of the club’s main ambitions is to create an ‘American High School’ experience at games and fans attending this weekend can expect that, with a 300-seated covered stadium, American food served all day, a licensed bar, cheerleaders, full-match commentary with mic’ed up Referees and a free match programme.
Fans at the season opener are also in for a treat with dozens of classic American motorbikes being parked up by the North East Harley Davidson Club, as well as an American Football store on site.
The Presidents will play all their five home games in May and June, with fixtures available on their website www.dcpresidents com or their Facebook page “DC Presidents Media Page”.
Admission to the Esh Stadium, Soccarena, DH1 1GG, is £4 for adults, £2 for under 16s, with under-10s admitted free.