(FootballSTL) -- The first day has come and gone for the Rams in London with the entire team going to Regent’s Park for a Play 60 event. Around 500 children ages 12-15 were there from five different London schools. Their objective for the day? Learn football from the pros.
It is the Rams' way of getting out in the community - this was “Community Day” after all - and connecting with the people.
Their initial impression was that there is a curiosity about the game of football (our football, American football) and how it’s played. They all think it is great how they are pretty well known in the United States, but in the United Kingdom, virtually no one knows who they are.
"You seriously could have put me in the middle of it all and told them I was the greatest wide receiver in history and they would have believed it," said News 4's Brian Feldman. "In fact, they would have said 'what’s a wide receiver?'."
The children at Tuesday's clinic knew how to play many main stream sports, but don’t get any exposure to football. One of the teachers there said the NFL games that are played in the UK each year don’t get promoted enough towards the younger crowd. It’s all tailored towards adults.
But isn’t the NFL trying to get younger kids involved so the sport can grow globally? That seems to be the problem. Watching these kids try and run routes or take handoffs or get in a three-point-stance was an issue. They seriously had no idea what they were doing. They loved every single minute of it...but still had no clue what they were doing.
That’s a big part of the challenge Roger Goodell and the NFL has to overcome if they’re ever going to get this sport as popular as, say, basketball. Young kids in Europe play other sports, sure, but they are all very familiar with basketball. Football? Not at all.
These Play 60 events are a great step towards giving these kids a good understanding of the game. The players on the Rams really got into it and were teaching them the basic fundamentals of the sport. They all had smiles on their faces and looked as if they genuinely wanted to be there...as opposed to just being forced to go.
So this was the beginning of the Rams week in London. Tuesday was, technically, their day off as they hit the practice field tomorrow and get ready to play the Patriots on Sunday.
We’ll have coverage for you on News 4, KMOV.com and the Footballstl app throughout the season.