Tom Sheppard.jpg
Tom Sheppard.jpg



What got you into American Football to start with? Did you play any contact sport beforehand?


I had always been interested in American Football and i’m not really sure why... I suppose because of a general interest in America where I then went to study for a year. I mostly played football up until attending the University of East Anglia where I then found out about the UEA Pirates American Football team - I went to my first session and was hooked.


What was your career like at the UniBall Level?


My first year was spent, as with many rookies, learning the game and getting coached up by my positions coach, I started as a Running Back but once it became apparent that I could catch well I was moved to Wide Receiver. In my last year of university and a year in which I returned to my alma mater for a masters, I was the leading receiver on the team. I’m not a particularly big stats guy but I was averaging some pretty big numbers for uniball. By this point I had also played American Football for the Cambridgeshire Cats senior team as a starting wide receiver in the premiership, competing against the London Blitz, Warriors and Olympians.


Why did you start coaching American Football?


I started coaching as a way of helping the UEA Pirates after I had graduated, I think a lot of players find the transition to coaching quite difficult and I was no different. However I started to love being able to impart my knowledge and love of the game to younger players and found it really rewarding to see those players develop in their own skills, knowledge and understanding of the game.

What advice would you have for a person interested in playing American Football?  


Stick with it! American football is not necessarily the most intuitive game, at least it wasn’t for me, some people take time to develop their skills before they get their ‘click’ moment and it all falls into place. Every person with interest in American Football has a place on a team, each team has so many different needs across all aspects of the game that there is an opportunity for everyone to contribute no matter what your skill or experience level.


What are you looking forward to the most this season with the City Wolfpack?


I’m really looking forward to getting back training with the team and especially my positional group, the Running Backs, we have an awesome core of players, all four of which are returners from last year. I’m looking forward to seeing how their off-seasons have gone and getting them back into game shape. We also have Dan Exell, featured Running Back from the newly promoted premiership team the Kent Exiles joining me in coaching the Running Backs so I’m really looking forward to welcoming him into the group and helping him help us become the best unit possible. Now that the Running Backs are all familiar with the game and understand their roles (two were rookies from last year) we can really develop their skills further and take what was the best positional group from 2017, improve ourselves and really push the whole team to get better in 2018. 


Favourite NFL Team and why?


San Francisco 49ers - I lived in the Sunset District of San Francisco for a year and absolutely love the city.


Favourite NFL Player and why?


Not a player at the moment but Colin Kaepernick - he was a beastly quarterback for the Niners when given the opportunity and actually surrounded by talent and competent coaches. He stands up, or rather knelt down, for what he believes in and is now being blackballed by the league despite clearly being better than most rostered QBs in the NFL. Outside of Kap, I like Marshawn Lynch, I have a signed Raiders jersey of his and love how he plays the game with such intensity, is living his dream by representing Oakland and the East Bay, and is hilarious off the field too.