Bryn Roy’s football combine returned to Strathmore for its third year, Dec. 2-3, to provide an opportunity for youth to train, hone their skills, and be noticed by the professional scene.
Roy has been hosting his camps for the last seven years, and began to bring them to Strathmore in 2020, where he got his start playing football. Over the weekend, 55 youth attended the camp, which took place at the Strathmore Motor Products Sports Centre.
“I have a lot of close ties with this community … my first year playing football was Strathmore’s first year to have a bantam program,” he said. “We started having these camps while I was still playing ball. I was helping out, helping coach different teams and seeing that there is quite a disconnect from athletes who have a desire to play, from those who had the know-how of where to go.”
Roy explained when he was starting his career in football, there was very little information available to rural athletes who were looking for opportunities to play at the junior or post-secondary level.
One of the goals of the combine is to minimize some of the steps for youth and future athletes to take towards reaching their goals as athletes.
“I had no guidance. I walked on at a junior college, I intentionally sat out of my social studies exam in high school so that I wouldn’t graduate and I could go to Arizona to play another year of high school football,” said Roy. “My whole path was to just figure it out and it was just pure desire and want to play. Because of that, I am trying to help some of these kids and erase some of the hurdles that I had and try to give them a clear vision of what is possible.”
Roy’s combine is a two-day camp, with the first being more of a teaching day with a host of coaches and former professional players on site to instruct the kids and help them get settled.
The second day is about performance, testing, and the kids making themselves known to recruiters, as well as to simply push themselves and measure what they are capable of.
Participation in the camps is open to youth between Grades 9 and 12. For the younger kids, they are able to get their start earlier and refine their skills, while those on the verge of graduating can get noticed to potentially play beyond the high school level.
Roy added in the seven years since the combines launched, over 80 kids have been signed to play junior football, Canadian university football, or even to the US through direct influence from the camp.
“That is tremendous to think about the fact that that many kids have come through this event and ended up being able to extend their careers, and build careers,” said Roy. “The whole goal of this camp is to provide what 15-year-old me would have loved to have had.”
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times