Seven sporty young students made the transatlantic journey from Ealing to the USA to represent the United Kingdom at a special event.
Children from Little Ealing Primary School, in Weymouth Avenue, travelled more than 5,000 miles to spend a week in the bright lights of Las Vegas to take part in the NFL Pro Bowl Games in February.
They secured their place on this once in a lifetime trip after a victorious win at the 2022 NFL Flag International Championships in Loughborough last summer. NFL Flag is a non-contact form of American football, or ‘Gridiron’ as it’s often called.
During their Vegas trip the children played against teams from a host of other countries, including Ghana, Mexico and Canada.
The UK team may not have won any trophies, but they did win the friendship of fellow competitors from across the globe. You can see them in action on Twitter.
Team member and Year 6 pupil, Erin, said: “We had a great time and it was really good to meet the other teams. They were really friendly and I have been messaging with girls from the Ghana and Germany teams since we came back.”
Charlie, 10, also in Year 6 at Little Ealing, added: “I really enjoy the sport and, since we got to go to Vegas, a lot more pupils at the school want to play. When we were on the trip we got to enjoy a lot of different activities, it was really fun.”
‘Really soared in popularity’
The school’s head of PE, Bobby Behzadi, introduced the sport to the school as an extra-curricular activity just before COVID-19 struck. He said: “This is a sport that all children can take part in, there is a role for everyone. It’s not just about being quick, you have to think and outwit your opponents.
“I started off just wanting to get 10 children wanting to play but it’s really soared in popularity across the school.”
He added that he and the children could not have achieved what they have done without the support and buy-in of the parents, his colleagues and a senior leadership team that sees the value in sport.
“Those three things were the recipe to success,” he added.
Councillor Jasbir Anand, cabinet member for thriving communities said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the school and all of its students. I’m very proud of the team and the commitment and dedication they have shown. And what an exciting opportunity to have gone to Las Vegas to play sport, and to meet other students from different countries. It’s proof of what can be achieved when you apply yourself, congratulations Little Ealing.”
But the story doesn’t end there, because Mr Behzadi will be taking the team to its next competition in west London in April.