SINCE making his gridiron debut only four years ago Jacob Edwards has made giant strides, the latest of which being a spot in the Australian team for the upcoming International Federation of American Football Under 19s World Cup.
Former Bathurst resident Edwards – who has lived in Epping for the past four years – will take part in the World Cup at Mexico City over July 13 to 23.
Edwards used to ply his trade for Bathurst Panthers and St Pat’s in rugby league but has excelled in his new sport as a centre for the Northern Sydney Rebels, based in Forestville.
He was chosen to represent NSW in last year’s Gridiron Australia Junior Nationals on the Gold Coast and his performance there earned him a spot at the Gridiron World Cup Qualifier.
Edwards survived the final cut to book a ticket to Mexico.
Once there he and the Australians will take on teams from the USA, Canada, Sweden, Mexico and Japan.
It’s been a quick journey through the ranks for Edwards on his way towards the international experience.
“I got into the sport because of my stepdad. He played it for quite a few years. After my second season I tried out for the NSW team,” he said.
“This time last year we went up to Queensland to play in nationals. After the tournament 40 or so players were chosen to represent Australia in the World Cup Qualifier against New Zealand.”
Edwards’ years in junior rugby league helped him out during his switch to gridiron but it was still a big learning experience.
“It took a long time to get used to. Playing defence is similar but it’s such a big transition when you have the ball,” he said.
“The game doesn’t flow like rugby league, it’s a lot more stop and start.”
Playing at centre means Edwards has the responsibility of snapping the ball to the quarterback at the start of an offensive play.
Following the snap Edwards must then provide protection for his quarterback so he can complete the remainder of his play.
He’s shown great leadership qualities in the position, having captained the offensive unit at both club and state level. He’s held the co-captaincy at his club for the past two years.
Edwards will be joined by a familiar face during the trip with Northern Sydney clubmate Keegan Gyoery also named in the Australian squad.
Edwards and his Australian Outback teammates will travel to the US at the beginning of July to take part in a training camp before the World Cup gets underway.
His family have set up a GoFundMe to seek supporters for the upcoming trip to Mexico. The link is www.gofundme.com/junior-gridiron-world-cup-in-mexico.