Junior All-American Punter is on the Australian Football League's Radar
This July, Taft High School (Woodland Hills, CA) Freshman Brandon Heicklen will be the first American teen ever to receive pro level training from the AFL, the Australian equivalent of the NFL.
Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A. (PRWEB) February 16, 2012
Every Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m., 25 men and a 9th grader get together to play full contact Aussie Rules football (footy) at a local park. The kid is 14 year old Brandon Heicklen, who has no other choice: There are no junior footy programs in America. If he wants to play, it’s with the seniors or not at all. So for Heicklen, who was born and raised in southern California, age is truly just a number - at least until his teammates break out the beer.
Brandon started hanging out at Chris Sailer's kicking camps at age 6. By 8, he was an NFL San Diego Chargers Punt, Pass and Kick finalist. By 9½, he was being mentored by active and retired NFL players. Pretty soon, he had gone two-time Junior All-State, two-time Junior Eastbay (Army) All-American, and after a banner 2011 season punting for his High School, was named to the Quick Twitch California Top 25 Underclassman watch list.
At age 12, Brandon discovered footy while watching ESPN and decided to try it to improve his accuracy, ball control, and touch. The players kick to pass and score. He joined the LA Sharks, a local amateur adult team, and two practices later was hooked. Now, after hearing about his palatial, 55 yard, deadly accurate torpedo punts, the Australian Football League (AFL) has taken notice.
Heicklen is still too young to play on the 2012 U-18 World footy team. So the AFL’s Michael Ablett has arranged for him to practice with them during the NAB U-16 Nationals in Sydney, Australia this July. Brandon hopes to impress the coaches enough to make the 2013 team, which is his first year of eligibility. He'll also be working out with Hall of Fame and retired AFL players and coaches while he's there.
When asked how he feels about being the first American teen bestowed with this honor, Brandon responded, "It's amazing, and historic, and I feel really lucky to be a part of it. Thanks to everyone who's being so good to me and I promise, I'll do whatever I can not to let you down."