The Aberdeen Roughnecks are a Scottish American football club based in Aberdeen, Scotland. Their home ground is called The Rig, situated within Hazlehead Park. Having successfully completed the required associate process, they played in the National North division of the BAFA National Leagues (BAFANL) for the first time in 2014.
Along with the Hastings Conquerors, the Roughnecks are one of only two co-operative American Football clubs in the United Kingdom, having incorporated into an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) in April 2014.
Aberdeen had an American football team before the Roughnecks, with the Granite City Oilers running from February 1986. The original team enjoyed some success, winning their conference in 1989 and again in 1993 before they disbanded in 1995.
The club began with a few fans of the sport meeting in Seaton Park to throw a ball around. Joint training camps and scrimmages followed with the Highland Wildcats adult side, giving the players a taste of game action.
The Roughnecks now had a head coach in place, and enough players to apply for associate membership of the British American Football Association (BAFA), taking their first step to entering the UK's league structure. Additionally, the club acquired a home field in Hazlehead Park, named The Rig, and installed goals to host home games.
To fulfill the conditions of full membership, the club played 3 matches towards the end of the year: the Glasgow Tigers and Clyde Valley Blackhawks visited The Rig, before the team travelled south to face the Dundee Hurricanes. Despite suffering losses in all 3 games, the Roughnecks proved that they were competitive enough and ready to enter the BAFA National Leagues, and were voted in as full members of BAFA at the body's AGM in November 2013.
Embarking on their first BAFA National Leagues (BAFANL) campaign, the Roughnecks experienced a difficult rookie season, losing their first 8 games before finishing with a maiden victory over the Glasgow Tigers and a tie with the Dundee Hurricanes. Completing the first season successfully allowed the club to set a base from which to build on looking ahead, and they were successful in attracting over 80 potential players to 2015 pre-season training camps.
The club's second BAFA National Leagues (BAFANL) campaign brought greater success, finishing the regular season with a winning 6–4 record and securing a wildcard playoff spot as the NFC's #8 seed. As well as progress made in the senior ranks, the Roughnecks youth side competed in their respective league for the first time, after an initial recruitment drive was successful in attracting enough players.
As full members of BAFA, the Roughnecks have now launched a youth development programme (commenced November 2014), as mandated by the governing body. This will initially take the form of a youth team (14–17 years old), with a junior team (17–19 years old) expected to follow at some stage in the future.
Aberdeen Roughnecks operate as a not-for profit sports club, with no members of the playing or coaching staff receiving payments. In addition, each player pays membership fees to keep the club running. To buy new equipment and develop the club in other ways, the Roughnecks rely on sponsorship from businesses in the local area.
In terms of recruitment, the Roughnecks welcome any potential new players, as well as general volunteers who want to lend a helping hand.
The Roughnecks home field is situated in Hazlehead Park, beside the Joe Paterson Sports Pavilion and its assorted football pitches. Training is also held here every non-playing Sunday from 1pm until 4pm.
Hazlehead Park sits on a few bus routes through Aberdeen - the number 11 First Aberdeen route, as well as the X17, 200 and 210 Stagecoach Bluebird routes.
The park can be accessed from the B9119, via a roundabout. Follow Hazlehead Road, and you will find parking on the left hand side after a short distance.