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From Playstation to playing for his nation, Curtis gets GB call

Curtis Williston in action PHOTO: paul@photographers-united.com

Curtis Williston in action PHOTO: paul@photographers-united.com

An American footballer from Aylesbury is one step closer to representing Great Britain in a historic match against

Sweden after being named in the initial squad.

Curtis Williston, 20, has been selected for the GB Students’ American Football team after impressing as a running back for his Aberystwyth University side.

The second year economics student helped the Tarannau win the Welsh Bowl for the first time in 15 years last month and has also played for Milton Keynes Pathfinders in the British National League.

Now the former Aylesbury Grammar School pupil could line up in GB Students’ first ever competitive international match in April and admitted he was inspired to take up the sport after playing on his Playstation.

“Like plenty of other British American football fans my age, I originally got into American football by playing the Madden NFL games on my Playstation,” Curtis said.

“I began watching the NFL games shown on Channel Five on Sunday and Monday nights and it grew from there.

“I was interested in joining one of my local teams, the MK Pathfinders, but I had to be 18 to play in the senior matches.

“Once I started at Uni last September, I jumped at the chance to play the game.”

Curtis said he was delighted to get the GB call-up and hopes to make the final cut when the squad is whittled down from 60 to 40.

“Being part of the GB Students training squad will be a massive opportunity, and I’m looking forward to training with some of the best coaches and players around,” Curtis said.

“No doubt the experience will make me a better player and increase my understanding of the game,” he added.

While American Football is still very much a minority sport in the UK, it is growing in popularity.

It’s known, and often criticised, for being high impact and violent – most notably by the US President Barack Obama.

And Curtis’ mum Julie admits she was concerned for her son’s safety at first.

She said: “I was extremely worried. But after he started to play and the more I got to understand the game, the anxiety got less.”

His subsequent selection for the GB squad has filled Julie with pride.

“You never know how your children will progress in life,but for your child to play for their country in any sport must be a parent’s greatest wish,” she said.

“To actually see Curtis play for the GB team will be the best feeling we could have.”

 

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