Super Bowl winner's quest to get Scots kids playing American Football

Former Chicago Bears star Shaun Gayle is introducing the sport to school pupils this summer.

Super Bowl winner Shaun Gayle has a “dream” to see American Football played in Scottish schools, after introducing youngsters to the sport through a training roadshow.

The 1985 Chicago Bears champion said interest in the NFL is exploding across Europe and bringing the high octane game to kids in Scotland is the next step in embedding the sport on this side of the Atlantic.

Speaking at the Mini Monsters event at Juniper Green Primary School in Edinburgh, Gayle told STV: “That’s the key to getting something to grow. You have to make sure people enjoy it and on top of that you have to address the younger population.

“Because once they embrace it and they become fans as a young age then that is going to last a lifetime hopefully.

“Hopefully the kids enjoy themselves, they will be open to seeing these new things on a football field and maybe create atmosphere where they will participate in games.

“My dream is one day to come to a school like this and actually have a class in American Football.”

The Chicago Bears are taking the Mini Monsters camp across the UK with girls and boys given a chance to try throwing, catching and tackling like NFL stars.

Gustavo Silva, the Bears’s manager of youth football and community programmes, said: “We want their first experience with American Football to be a fun one, an engaging one and one that brings them back.

“We want them to take away that message of playing for 60 minutes every day, eating healthily, and taking care of their bodies – playing sport is just a great way of doing that.

“We would love them to play American Football and to be fans of the Chicago Bears.”

Gayle first played in the UK as a reigning Super Bowl champion when the Bears took on the Dallas Cowboys in an exhibition match at the old Wembley Stadium.

This year five regular NFL season games will be hosted in Europe – three in London and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Recalling the experience in 1986, Gayle said: “The fanbase was there and cheering but it wasn’t as big.

“Now? The interest in the NFL and American Football has permeated Europe and it is only going to continue to grow.”

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