Touchdown moment for UCLan students

7 December 2023

Kiera Collier and Erika Patao have been chosen to play American football for Great Britain’s Women’s team

Two University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) students have been selected to represent their country at American football for the first time.

Kiera Collier, from Leyland, and Erika Patao, from Colchester, have been chosen to play for Great Britain’s Women’s team.

The duo will meet up with the squad at a weekend training camp in Nottingham in early January and hope to impress ahead of the internationals against Spain, in April, and Finland, in August.

Nineteen-year-old Kiera, who plays centre, said: “It feels so incredible and I feel so privileged to have been selected for the GB women’s team. It’s been a long-time goal of mine since starting to play the sport, there’s still a long way to go in this journey but I cannot wait to get started!”

The second-year business and management student, who attended Balshaws CE High School and Runshaw College, first started playing for the Chorley Buccaneers in 2015.

"It feels so incredible and I feel so privileged to have been selected for the GB women’s team"

UCLan student Kiera Collier

She said: “I got into the sport after playing netball for multiple years and having my younger brother join where I found out it was a mixed gender sport and then I decided to join up realising that a lot of skills were transferable.”

Former Colchester Sixth Form College student Erika, 22, is a linebacker and only started playing American football three years ago when she came to UCLan and saw it was a team of both genders.

The MSc Sports and Exercise Science student, who was born in the Philippines, said: “It still feels unreal to be picked to represent the GB women's team, especially since I haven't been playing the sport for that long. It feels like such a big achievement I never thought could have happened.”

Kiera and Erika’s success follows hot on the heels of three male students who recently played for GB’s under 19s American football team against Scotland.

Charlie Martin, Fraser Galloway and Gabriel Wiseman were all involved in the 29-20 victory.

Quarterback Charlie, a first-year sports journalism student, also captained the team in his first appearance.

"It still feels unreal to be picked to represent the GB women's team, especially since I haven't been playing the sport for that long"

MSc Sports and Exercise Science student Erika Patao

The former Parklands High School and Runshaw College pupil, who also started his American football career by playing with the Chorley Buccaneers, said: “It was an amazing feeling and very fulfilling.

“I had been with the team in preparation for the previous two fixtures against Italy and France and had narrowly missed out on being selected to play in those two games, so to finally be selected to play for GB was an amazing feeling and it’s something I’m extremely proud and grateful for.”

Nineteen-year-old Fraser, who was inspired to play the sport by his New England Patriots’ supporting dad, offers versatility to the team as he is able to play linebacker, defensive back and wide receiver.

The foundation entry sports journalism student, from Carnoustie, also recovered from dislocating his little finger and both knuckles in a previous GB training session in time to take to the field.

The former Carnoustie High School pupil added: “I had a good performance with an interception in the endzone and I really enjoyed getting to do it with some of my friends, especially Gabe and Charlie.”

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Kiera Collier and Erika Patao
Kiera Collier and Erika Patao