Trail of Insolvency

Insolvency

The world of Semi Pro Football seems like it becomes a little more cut throat every single year.  More unfulfilled promises, more players thinking they are better than they really are, more coaches who feel like they are entitled to something, and less of a fan base following beyond the players families and friends.

My introduction to this debauchery was when I first stepped foot at a practice with a team based out of Ventura.  The coach told me that they offer health insurance, 401k, recruiting services, and no team fees.  Come to find out weeks later, that the health insurance and 401k were provided by a player on the team and that was his full time job, insurance sales and financial advising.  No helping hand, everything  was at full price as you cannot discount these types of services.  But the way the coach made it sound, seemed like it was part of the package as being a player for them.  After season, when I asked about possibly getting a look from some pro teams, he swiftly avoided phone calls, and never gave me a sure fire answer besides that he is talking to his guys and its looking good.

The next year I played for a team out of Carson.  Everything was night and day compared to the previous team. Better talent, better coaching, better facilities, better schedule, everything.  After I went to the tryout, the owner came up to me, pulled me a aside for a personal conversation and told me that I made the team and how he was impressed with my kicking, also that he knows I live far away from the team, so if I need any help with gas money, he’s got me.  Needless to say, I never saw a dime from that statement.  I did not pursue the gesture aggressively since my financial situation is not one that needs assistance, but one thing that did need assistance at this point was my perception of this individual that flat out lied to me, as well as the image that was shaping my perspective on semi pro football… and who knows how many other players on that team he said similar things to with no delivery.

After a successful season with this team, I ended up going to what many teams call “The Enemy”, the Inglewood Blackhawks.  From day 1, I realized that this program was different than the rest.  No promises that could not be kept, no outlandish claims that they could get me back into the NFL, just simply a, we would like to have you here attitude.  Since this day, there has not been a thought in my head to leave this team, and after many seasons with them, one thing that is a constant is how the teams around Southern California try to stack a team together to bring them down.

In my 5th season of semi pro football, I have heard many tales of owners promising the world to young talented athletes to come to their team.  Everything from paying them, to waiving their team fees, claiming to have connections with scouts, promising playing time, and much more.  Every year there are teams that build their foundation on this, and every year this same team seems to crumble.  Successful winning programs are not built on talent alone, they are built through hard work, dedication, team camaraderie, and a common goal.

My main purpose of this article is to help the players of semi pro to see past the BS, to use their minds to choose where they want their talents to land.  Semi Pro Football is a different breed of football, there is no glory, or ESPN specials, there aren’t tens of thousands of people in the stands for each game and floods of people asking for your autograph after a big win.  This level of football is non-professional and is truly made to be a competitive playing ground for people who either have been playing football all their life and want to strap it up, or for those people that feel they never got a fair chance to be the best they could be and want to prove to themselves that they have it.

Let’s make this year of semi pro one of the best there has been.  Let’s cut out all the BS and behind the scenes back stabbing, and let us players play quality football.  To many times we have witnessed these new teams pop up, stack up, and in the process ruin the reputation of semi pro football by leaving long lasting impressions of unpaid bills and broken promises.  These are usually the same teams that are promising the world to their players, when they have moths flying out there empty wallet when they open it.

Be smart and pick your teams for the right reasons.

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