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Southampton graduate passes gridiron test to play in American Arena League

Published: 14 March 2019
Cameron Craig
Southampton graduate Cameron Craig has made the 30-man roster for the Carolina Havoc in the USA.

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina for University of Southampton graduate Cameron Craig.

The 23-year-old has passed the first major test of his budding American football career by making the final roster for the Carolina Havoc in the 12-team American Arena League. The Havoc, defending champions of the AAL, are based in Florence, South Carolina where Cameron now feels right at home although he is the only Brit on the 30-man team.

“It’s a great feeling to travel thousands of miles from home into a sporting environment I’m familiar with, surrounded by teammates and coaches who have given me nothing but support over the last few weeks during the training camp for the Havoc,” said Cameron whose first opportunity to play for the Havoc comes on Friday, 15 March at home to the Cape Fear Heroes based in neighbouring North Carolina. “Having my name called to be included on the final roster for the coming season is a really defining moment for me. I’m so proud to be part of the Havoc and look forward to getting stuck into the action in front of the crowds here in my adoptive home in the USA.”

Havoc Head Coach, Anson Yarborough, is very encouraged by Cameron’s progress and excited by the prospects for his British recruit. “Cameron Craig is a great athlete and an even better person,” Yarborough enthused. “He has adjusted to the speed and physicality of the game really well. He is a great asset to our team and organisation.”

Cameron graduated from Southampton with a BSc (Hons) in Business Innovation in July 2018 knowing that a possible future lie ahead of him in American football. After four seasons with the Southampton Stags university team, Cameron’s highlight reel caught the eye of coaches overseas who then got in touch to discuss the chance of him crossing the Atlantic to play professionally.

Originally from Scotland, Cameron’s start in life gave no indication of his current prowess on the gridiron. Born six weeks early, Cameron had a number of health issues in his early years. At the age of seven, he was diagnosed with dyspraxia which affects the development of the brain and causes difficulty with coordination and movement.

Now, Cameron stands at six feet-four inches and shows no signs of his earlier problems. In fact, his size and agility play favourably into his chances of being successful in the USA where his role with the Carolina Havoc is likely to require him to play in both offensive and defensive positions - something he’s experienced with the Southampton Stags.

“My final season, 2017-18, for Southampton was my favourite,” Cameron recalled. “We went undefeated and I got the opportunity to play on defense and offense which is quite a professional challenge but that versatility will stand me in good stead for the Havoc.

“Joining the Stags was one of the biggest highlights of my life and my time at the University of Southampton was fantastic,” Cameron added. “Just walking onto that field the first time for the Stags and not having a clue about any of it at first, then slowly learning more and more about the game has been amazing. I’ve made a lot of friends, lifelong friends, amongst the players and coaches and I’m sure the same will happen in the USA.”

 

 

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