East Kilbride Pirates chairman Amanda McDonald began her second year of a two-year term at the helm last week, as the American football team elected a new committee for the upcoming season.
The Pirates don’t kick-off their competitive campaign until May 4 when they travel to face Coventry Jets in the Premiership North league.
But there is plenty of work to be done between now and the Spring, especially within the club’s junior ranks.
Outwith the main focus of the Pirates senior winning the league and making this year’s Britbowl final, building upon an already strong youth set-up will be this season’s first concern.
And the man enlisted with that responsibility is last year’s MVP (Most Valuable Player) Jamie McLaughlin.
Jamie has been voted in as vice-chairman but will also head up the youth development programme.
“He’s going to be a very busy man,” said Amanda McDonald.
“Jamie’s big focus will be developing our youth and junior ranks and he will also be involved with the Active Schools programme to encourage more participation in the sport.
“We have two youth teams affiliated with the club – the EK Pirate Juniors and the Hamilton Buccaneers and next month they will be travelling down south to face the Burnely Tornadoes in a small tournament, which money we raised in bag pack at Sainsbury’s last year will pay for.
“It’s the Hamilton team’s first competitive season so there’s a lot for them to look forward to.
“On top of all that we plan to do a lot more taster sessions in schools to get out there and promote the game, so Jamie will have plenty to keep him occupied.”
Meanwhile, Amanda’s predecessor Matthew Davies has been elected as the club treasurer for the next two year’s after officially retiring from playing.
He will now also take on the role of Offensive Line Coach.
The full list of the Pirates 2013 committee is as follows:
●Chairman – Amanda McDonald (second year of two-year term)
●Vice-Chairman – Jamie McLaughlin (two-year term)
●Treasurer - Matthew Davies (two-year term)
●Ordinary members - Heather McGowan; Drew Boyle; John Patterson; Michael Smith; Stuart Gallacher; Iain Dick.
Amanda added: “It was fantastic to see so many people along to find out about all the work that goes on behind the scenes of the Club and hear about our future plans.
“The new committee gives us a fantastic spread of experience, players and non-players, with people involved in all different aspects of the club.
“And I’d like to say a big thanks also to our outgoing committee members Mark Henderson, Kenny Muir and Neale McMaster for their contribution.”
Training for the senior side started three weeks ago and, despite being hindered by the weather, the players still managed indoor sessions as they build towards a new league season.
Last year the Pirates won the Premiership North league, losing just twice in 11 games, but were beaten in the BritBowl semi-finals by London Blitz.
However, Amanda hopes her final year in charge can yield an unprecedented success for the club.
“The aim is to win the league and go to BritBowl, but it would be great if we could win it this time and qualify for Europe.
“That would be a nice way to go out.
“We’ve had a lot of interest this year from players within East Kilbride and beyond and from rookies to players who are at other clubs so it’s looking like we will have a lot of strength in depth this coming season.
“We had about 40 turn out for our rookie tryouts and 30 of them are still with us so we are looking good and there a real buzz about the place.
“I’ve not seen the group this excited since the year we won the First Division BritBowl two years ago, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that will be a good sign for the coming season.”