Jaguars Alumni Ben Koyack previews Saturday’s Union Jax Foundation event in Ealing



Ben Koyack

As the Union Jax Foundation prepared for a fantastic event featuring both a JagTag 101 showcase and an Offense Vs Defence clinic with special guests Jason Bell, Trustee of the Union Jax Foundation, and former Tight End and Jaguars alumni, Ben Koyack, caught up with Ben to talk about the sessions and working with the Jaguars.

Young people aged 8 – 16 and from our JagTag schools and BAFA cadets will take part in 5V5 sessions utilising the skills and knowledge they have acquired whilst on the JagTag 101 course. The aim is to be fund and interactive, with both Jason and Ben providing some tips to the players while they have fun!

Ben, are you looking forward to Saturday’s event and seeing how the young people have grasped the first level of American Football?

A: Having just spent a 3 month stretch with the NFL IPP program, it’s both exciting and rewarding to be involved at the ground level of the game, especially at the international level. One of the biggest things for the younger groups to remember, just like all competitive games, is that American Football is still about finding ways to have fun. I think that the more that they can grasp the game and understand, the more fun they are able to have.

What were your first memories of getting involved in playing the sport?

A: My first memories of playing American Football were when I was technically too young to be on any team. My older brother was in a local flag football league and my mom was the coach. I was 5 while my brother was 7. Our team needed another person, so I ended up playing in the game and catching a touchdown! However, since I was too young, I wasn’t allowed to play any more games after that until I was old enough!

It must be fun working with the Jaguars in the UK, especially as the London game is such a big date in the UK fans’ diary!

 A: It’s fun, and I can’t say it enough, but also rewarding to continue to be a part of the Jaguars and NFL community to continue to help grow and promote the game on this side of the pond. Having played in the UK a few times myself, I know how enjoyable the game can be for the players. I called one of the previous game’s vs the Broncos for TalkSport as well, and it was a fun experience to see the perspective from the fan’s point of view. I’m looking forward to getting everyone excited for this year’s games as well!

The morning session will transition into a specialised clinic, where participants aged from 16- 25 representing British American Football Association (BAFA0, British University and College Student (BUCS), and GB National team will take part in bespoke Offensive Vs Defensive ‘pass set’ clinic teachings.

You have taken part in these clinics before, are you ever surprised at the level these young people can play at can play at?

A: I took part in a smaller, similar version of this clinic previously which showed plenty of promise with the players. We had a great group of support staff that helped run a great day with a short amount of time. While in college and playing in the NFL, I also helped run similar style clinics as well with various age groups, and most recently, spent 10+ weeks coaching international athletes and preparing them to hopefully sign with an NFL team. Even with experience, I’ve taught myself to never be surprised when talent presents itself! It truly can come from anywhere and in any form. I have no doubt we will see plenty of talented athletes on the field.

What’s the most important piece of advice you think you can give to aspiring NFL players?

A: I think the most important advice I can give to aspiring NFL players is that anything is to never give up on your dream, because with enough hard work and dedication, anything is possible. I played with people from just about every type of background, and I don’t know if there was anyone who didn’t go through a rough patch or must get past a breaking point eventually. At the end of the day, you get out what you put in. That includes everything on the field, as well as off the field. The longer you play the game, the more you realize how much of the game is played off of the field through studying and preparation, and not just on the field during practice or a game.

With high level BAFA and GB coaches on hand to support Ben and Jason in their on-field coaching efforts, it promises to be a day that will offer much to the young people aspiring to further their skill sets in the sport and learn valuable insights from those that have experience of playing in the National Football League.

Ben, you’ll be joining the young people in Dublin for two special events around the 2024 NFL Draft too, are you looking forward to that?

 A: I’m very excited! While playing college football at the University of Notre Dame, the first international game I had the opportunity to play in was at Aviva Stadium in Dublin and I have not been back since, so I am looking forward to going back once again. It will be fun to be able to spend time promoting the game and teaching it to the next generation, as well as hopefully drumming up some healthy competition! I think Draft festivities will only add to the fun and spread awareness of the game. It will be a great weekend all around.


Make sure you check out all the Jaguars social media channels to see what Ben gets up too on Saturday and then, of course, in Dublin!


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