Last Saturday afternoon, the Keiser University football program held its first official public scrimmage, and drew spectators from all over South Florida to see the action.
Seakhawks head coach Doug Socha and his staff welcomed more than recruits earlier in the day for a presentation about the new program and information about the university.
“It was a great turnout. We promoted it. We said to the kids, bring your family members out here,” Socha said. “They deserved it. It was really what we thought it would be; there was barbecue, there were cheerleaders, and a pretty decent product of kids trying to run around and play hard for Keiser University.”
The day’s event far exceeded the staff’s expectations on attendance. “We said we want 50 to 60 guys, and we beat that,” Socha said. “Eighty guys got to see, there’s really a football team out here, they’re going to build a facility, they’re going to build a stadium. It just opens their eyes.”
The flagship campus has plans for both of those for the new program, which will not play its first season until fall 2018, so current football operations take place on the practice field. The scrimmage saw families, fans and recruits occupy the sidelines, watching the players showcase their skills and playing under competitive situations. High school coaches were also on hand to observe the festivities and introduce potential recruits to the Keiser program.
“We’ve had many practices with the offense versus defense, and we try to make it as competitive as we can,” Socha said. “They came to execute and they played hard, and they had an audience.”
Ninety percent of the roster is made up of Palm Beach County athletes, many from the western communities. Sage Chen-Young, a Seahawks defensive back and Wellington High School alum, dressed out, after recovering from an injury earlier in the year, and saw plenty of action. Chen-Young, a two-way player, helped lead the Wolverines to a district championship last year.
“It felt good, and now I feel like a member of the team,” he said. “Sitting out, I felt left out, so I was just ready to play.”
Socha was clear that there is still much work ahead. “The biggest thing right now, is this football team on campus has got to transition to phase two,” he explained. “We’re going to elevate our study hall time and finish strong this semester academically. We’re going to continue to lift weights, and continue to condition.”
The coach described how his staff will approach things for the program externally. “With recruiting, we’re going to be full swing,” he said. “Monday after the meeting, we’re going to be on the clock into the true off-season of 2018, spring football, off-season summer, we’re going to play games, so we really have to heighten our focus to get ready.”
Keiser will continue to offer an opportunity to play football in the NAIA division for student athletes from around the county, but there is no question that Palm Beach County has a hotbed of talent to pull from, as the roster reflects. College football has become a reality in West Palm Beach and will debut via the Keiser University Seahawks in 2018.
To get more information and follow the Seahawks, visit www.kuseahawks.com.