The History of The Darlington Steam

February 2013

The Formation

Starting in February 2013 the official first session was on a snow day, where Darren Mitchell and Lee Howitt waited at Eastbourne sports complex in case any players turned up to the session. One player actually turned up to the session and has been with the Steam ever since (Lee Kelly, #63 and now Head Coach of the Youth Team).

The actual first session was able to start next week and had a good turn out with a lot of new players to the sport and a previous player for Woodham Warriors, Jack Curry #64. Also, one of the players fathers used to play American Football when he lived in London for the London Olympians, Brian Shade, our Offensive Line Coach.

May 2013

First Contact Callup

A few months after the Steam had its first session, a few players got their call-up to play for their parent team at the time DC Presidents Academy.

The two players called up were Lee Kelly and Omar Shade. Both players were able to play at various events alongside the DC Presidents while training at South Park each Saturday.

The coaches are all super proud of the effort that the two lads have put in to be able to get to this stage and in their first events really proved them self to the academy team.

Summer 2013

Training and Recruitment Continues

Throughout the summer, recruitment for new players and the team steadily grew with players of all ages. As well as an additional coach of Brian Shade. The team grew and taught the basics of contact American football and flag American football, finishing off each session with a game of flag.

While being in South Park, it helped with publicity greatly, allowing passers-by to see the team train.

October 2013

First Scrimmage Under the Steam Banner

With recruitment going really well and being able to pad out our numbers enough to be able to field a team of players, we decided to have a flag scrimmage against the DC Presidents.

The scrimmage went really well and everyone showed off their skill and put in an amazing performance.

March 2014

First Awards Ceremony

The first awards ceremony for the Darlington Steam happened, and three awards were presented to; Lee Kelly, xxx, xxx.

It was a great little event after training, and we congratulate all involved for their hard work and dedication to this team.

May 2014

Playing for North Durham Knights

Some of our players got the call-up to play for North Durham Knights (Used to be DC Presidents) and played a very successful group of games against some very tough teams.

Our coaches are very proud of all who took part and the players from the Steam performed above and beyond expectations.

December 2014

Flag Scrimmage Against North Durham Knights

Darlington Steam were able to organise another flag scrimmage against North Durham Knights to test their knowledge and skills with our own play book. Both teams performed exceptionally and had an excellent time.

May 2015

First Junior's Playing for Vikings

Some of our older players got the call-up to play for Northumberland Vikings for their Junior team, alongside past players of the DC Presidents and Woodham Warriors. It was a great experience for all that were involved, and the team looked extremely strong.

June 2015

Getting American Football into Local Schools

We have been able to get into one of the local schools in Darlington to promote American football during lunchtimes and after school sessions. This is an incredible step for the team and really shows the support of the local community.

February 2016

First U14 Flag Game Against Leeds Academy Assassins

The Under 14's of the Darlington Steam got their first chance against another team the Leeds Academy Assassins. Both sides played really well and had some outstanding play. Everyone involved enjoyed the day out down to Leeds.

The Coaches are incredibly proud of what the kids have been able to pull off in such a short amount of time, they have worked so hard and it really shows.

April 2016

First Season for Darlington Steam for Adult Flag

It has taken a long time to get here, but we are now able to play under our own banner in Adult Flag. We have enough players to field a full team and then some. We are incredibly proud of what we have made here and the players and parents who have stuck with us throughout the whole time.

It is a new era for the Darlington Steam and there isnt any going back now! On wards and upwards.

June 2016

First Steam Victory!

The Darlington Steam has won its first official league game! Under the Quarter backing of Lee Kelly and the stepping up of everyone involved, even the coaches, due to low numbers available in this tournament (Injuries and availability).

The team fought their way through the trenches to successfully to have a 25-20 win!

September 2017

Starting our Adult Contact Team

We have always been dedicated to the contact side of American Football, but never really fully taken the dive to jump in with two feet. We launch our Adult contact team and start heavily recruiting to build a strong and successful base.

This is the pivot point on what we have built the club out to what it is today.

November 2017

First Adult Contact Scrimmage Against DC Presidents

Not long after our recruitment drive, we have the numbers to take the next step into having a scrimmage against the DC Presidents. This was a huge step and to be able to achieve this in only a few months.

The coaches worked tirelessly to get us to this point and have dedicated years of their life as well and deserve huge props to all they have achieved.

June 2018

Launching the Darlington Steam Contact Kit

At the annual awards, we release the contact teams kit for the upcoming seasons. With the brilliant Michael Buckley modelling of the actual kit.

July 2018

First Adult Associate Game to Get League Status

We have gained associate status in preparation of entering the full adult league and our first game of this season. It was a momentous occasion and many years of working towards this day has finally paid off.

There have been many players along the way who have stuck with us and followed us that always kept us pushing to keep going.

April 2019

First Official Adult Leauge Game

We finally got there after many years we have got to the point of being in a contact league and with an adult team. Everyone took to the first game with jitters and wondering how everyone will perform and how successful the team will be this season.

Up next for the Steam is how long will it take to get that first WIN?


COVID-19 Hit

Unexpectedly, COVID-19 swept the nation and the world! Causing havoc and restricting us to stay indoors and away from everyone. This caused havoc for lots of people and sports teams across the country.

The steam tried our best to keep our players involved and try classroom sessions as well as having social events online. It was a very trying time for the club and the nation as a whole.

April 2021

Youth Contact Start Associate Status

After a very long hiatus, Darlington Steam brings back American Football to the youth (13 - 16 years old). What the whole Steam was founded on and getting back to the roots.

We had a small but dedicate amount of athletes recruited and who are still with us to this day! We got associate status and got fast tracked into a league spot this year due to other teams dropping out of the league because of Covid-19.

June 2021

Adult Teams First WIN

Playing vs DC Presidents the Darlington Steams original partner team, we took on this team with our adult team, and we came out victorious with a score of 38-0.

This was a very hard fought game and the team has worked extremely hard to get to this point and have overcome obstacles and the struggles of Covid-19.

June 2022

Youth Get Their First WIN

Going into the season, the kids had one season, four tournaments, no wins... but this season, only their second, they had four more tournaments, TWO WINS, even getting over 50 points as a team! The improvements keep coming, and it's down to the awesome squad that's been built and the great coaching team that's worked tirelessly over the years.
We are incredibly proud of the team and can't wait to build on that.
August 2022

Adult Contact WIN the Division 7-1!

This is the first time in our history, and it's taken a while to get there, but everyone involved with the club is on a massive high right now!
Thanks to those who have supported us over the years and got behind us this season when we had people who wanted us to fail!
We did it!
I am absolutely on cloud nine right now, but I'm under no illusions that the next phase isn't going to be easy.
I want to thank my coaching staff, and my players. You've been absolutely amazing this year and the ones preceding it, as it has been a long process. I promised you I'd lead you to these, and here we are.
Now the real hard work start planning and preparation for that first playoff game!
January 2023

Adult Contact Get Promoted to Division 1

After nearly 10 years of Darlington Steam and through the different variations of the team, our Adult contact team has been promoted to Division 1. It has been a long and stressful journey, and our last season showed how dominant we are. Taking Division 2 by 7-1 and the only loss was by 2 points!

To taking part in our first play-off game and the Covid-19 reduced travel season where we face the teams like DC Presidents, Gateshead Senators and Northumberland Vikings. All the coaches and players are ecstatic with our promotion, and we look forward to an amazing season.

June 2023

The Academy is Reformed

The academy is reformed starting from the youngest again to rebuild the fundamentals and lead the steam into a new age. Headed by the founder Darren Mitchell and his passion is to build a space to let no kid be turned away for any reason. Joining forces with Darlington Borough Council to offer holiday sessions for under privileged kids.

With numbers growing quickly lots of work has been done to get it to such a stage in such a short period of time.

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