Recruitment Begins

Culloden and Charleston

Recruitment sessions for the HACL 2015 season began this week with Charleston Academy and Culloden Academy getting things started yesterday and today.

The sessions saw twenty two players sign up for the Knights and over thirty put down their name to play for the Raptors in 2015.  The promotions continue tomorrow and Friday with visits to Fortrose Academy and Dingwall Academy for the brand new Black Isle Stags team.

Next week will see visits to Inverness Royal Academy, Inverness High School and Millburn Academy on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays respectively.

League Coordinator, Robbie Paulin, commented, “What really makes these recruitment days work are the young people, that are already involved with the Wildcats and the HACL, going out and spreading the word.  It’s great to see their enthusiasm in wanting to give other young people the same opportunities they’ve had and also to promote the sport to get the best team possible for their school!”

Pathways Update

BAFCA Level 1 Success

Three coaches from the Highland Wildcats successfully passed their BAFCA Level 1 coaches qualification in Dundee earlier today.

BAFCA LEVEL 1h copyThe course was instructed and assessed by former NFL Europe coach Steve McCusker and Matthew Davies from the East Kilbride Pirates.

Martin MacPherson, Chris Shaw and Ewan Sime all attended the course and are now qualified coaches.

Below is a short clip of Steve McCusker talking about the course shortly after the Inverness BAFCA Level 1 last year.

Wildcats Thank Councillors

The Wildcats were visited by Councillor Janet Campbell and Graham Ross today in the Weights Room, before a strength and conditioning session, where they took the opportunity to thank them for the support they had given the team throughout the 2014 season.


Wildcats captains, Mark Pyper and Haris Ryalls, talked to Janet and Graham about how their funding helped them bring home the Britbowl trophy to the Highlands.

Councillor Graham Ross said, “It’s great to be able to support the team with the Ward budgets and enabling players with talent that may not have been able to take part because of financial reasons. The team really has put Inverness on the map.”

IMG_9557Councillor for Inverness Central Ward, Janet Campbell added, “It really is a privilege to help in some way to give young people an opportunity to work to achieve something as great as winning a UK Championship. I was so impressed with the camaraderie in this session alone. We are so proud of the boys’ achievements and it was a delight to meet them.”

Janet even took the opportunity to get some player autographs!

The Wildcats would like to thank the Inverness Central and West Ward for their support in the 2014 campaign.


sportscotland Young Ambassador


One of the Highland Wildcats captains was part of a sportscotland event yesterday in Eden Court. Mark Pyper was selected from pupils in Inverness Highschool and invited to the Highland wide event aimed at training young people to become ambassadors for sport in their school.

Young Ambassadors is a programme for young people in school between the ages of 14 and 17 run by sportscotland.  Their role is to motivate and inspire other young people from primary and secondary schools across Scotland to get involved in sport and to generate enthusiasm for major games.

Mark was offered the opportunity after his continuing work promoting American football to younger pupils and to people in his own year. He has set up sessions through the Wildcats Pathways programme and working with Active Schools. He was key in building n a strong Highland Academy Community League team in the Inverness Highschool,  numerous flag football sessions for younger pupils and also coaching and leading sessions in primary schools across Inverness.

Ice Bucket Challenge

Spotlight: Kyle Holleyoake

Kyle Holleyoake | Running Back

Kyle Holleyoake

Q. How did you get involved with the Highland Wildcats?
A. I’ve always been interested in American football so I searched for places that i could try it out and I found the Highland wildcats, made inquiries and that’s where it all began…

Q. How has the Wildcats affected your life?
A. It has improved my life, it has helped me build my confidence, it’s given me a team to be apart of and new friends.

Q. What is your favourite memory as a Wildcat?
A. My favourite memory for the wildcats would have to be when I got picked for the first tournament.

Q. What are your personal goals for the season?
A. My personal goals would have to be: be enthusiastic and achieve the best I can be.

Q. Which NFL team do you support?
A. I don’t support any NFL Team.

Kyle Holleyoake

Robbie Paulin – Head Coach’s Comments:

Kyle joined in one of our summer development camps last year and I remember my staff telling me that he stood out a mile.  He was then part of the Black Isle Stags, a development team for our Highland Academy Community League, in which he made a big impact at Running Back for this team!

He became part of the Youth Highland Wildcats Practice squad this year and has gone from strength to strength, even earning himself a slot in our 21 selected players for the opening tournament in Moray.  His work in the pre-season paid off when he picked up some points for the team.

His confidence has come on a lot and being one of our younger players, I feel he’s got a lot of potential in years to come.

Spotlight: Andrew Stark

Andrew Stark | Cornerback



Q. How did you get involved with the Highland Wildcats?

I got involved in 2012 when one of my friends came into school with an injury and I asked him how he got it and he said he was playing American football with the Wildcats. I’ve always had an interest in American football so I asked if he thought it would be okay and he told me when and where to go.


Q. How has the Wildcats affected your life?

The Wildcats has affected my life because it has made me be more committed to doing something because if you miss one Sunday it can be hard for you to catch up because new plays will be installed.


Q. What is your favourite memory as a Wildcat?

My favourite wildcats memory is probably getting on the stage at the BLITZ AWARDS 2012 and doing Gangnam Style for Colin.



Q. What are your personal goals for the season?

My personal goals are to be starting Cornerback, make a pick 6 and to earn a blitz award.


Andrew StarkQ. Which NFL team do you support?

I support the New England Patriots.


Comments from Head Coach Robbie Paulin:

Andrew’s been involved with the team since the end of the 2012 season.  The late start that year held him back in gaining a starting position and illness put a bit of a dampener to the start of 2013 season for him.  Through that though he’s shown a lot of dedication and continued to push himself.  I really feel this could be his year as he’s off to a good start and continuing the dedication that we’ve seen from him over the past  two years.  He’s got athleticism and the effort he puts in at practice will get him far in 2014!

Spotlight: Euan Crawford

Euan Crawford | Quarterback



Q. How did you get involved with the Highland Wildcats?

A. I first started the Wildcats when I stopped doing track running. I never really enjoyed it and decided to try something new. I’d done a couple of the Summer Cadet Contact Camps when I was younger and decided I to try it properly.  Last year was my first season with the Highland Wildcats.


Q. How has the Wildcats affected your life?

A. The Wildcats has affected my life in several ways. It has got me fit, taught me commitment and got me through some tough times. The Wildcats has always been somewhere where I can go and lose myself in the training and vent any frustration I had.  My mum recently passed away from cancer and the training and everyone at Wildcats has been a support over the past couple of years while she was going through treatment.  It’s given me something to focus on to help me carry on with so much going on.


Q. What is your favourite memory as a Wildcat?

A. Best memory is probably my first tournament, I first properly felt like a part of the team.


Q. What are your personal goals for the season?

A. Personal goals are to stay injury free and to throw no interceptions


Q. Which NFL team do you  support?

A. Not a big NFL supporter but I’d have to say the Broncos


Comment from Head Coach Robbie Paulin:

Euan has really stepped up this year.  The effort he shows in the gym is incredible and it’s starting to show on the field too.  The way he has handled something so tragic is genuinely inspiring.  When his mum passed away he turned it into positive energy and just carried on.  He personally inspired me, as I went through a similar experience, losing my mum just months after he did.  He’s shown such strong character and I can’t wait to see him go from strength to strength this season!

Sports Shrink

PsychologyLast night the Highland Wildcats headed to Millburn Academy (the home of the current Highland Academy Community League champions, the Millburn Academy Eagles) for a session with top sports psychologist, Donald MacNaughton.

Donald’s worked with Winter Olympic athletes, Rugby League teams, professional football teams and in motor racing.  He has also been a part of the Wildcats’ campaigns since the 2011 season. He’s a published author with his first book being a top seller on Amazon and his second book just recently being released.

The interactive session focused on goal setting and mindset preperation.  It’s hoped that with the knowledge gained from the session – and then being put into practice – will give both the Youth and Junior Wildcats the edge as they head into the 2014 season.  These are also skills that will transfer over into everyday life.

Donald MacNaughton

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