Keiser University introduced its new football program in 2017 and began establishing the necessary culture for success under the direction of head coach Doug Socha. Most were freshman on the new Seahawk squad, and they did not play their first official game until the 2018 inaugural season.
Among the collection of talent is Wellington High School alum Sage Chen-Young, a defensive back for the Seahawks. Chen-Young has made an early impact for the Seahawks, who compete in the NAIA Mid-South Sun Conference. “Sage sets the standard,” Socha said. “He’s an excellent student and makes plays. He is a great guy to be around.”
Chen-Young helped the Seahawks to a 6-4 overall record in 2018 and a 4-2 conference record. He was also awarded conference honors as defensive player of the year and made first team All Mid-South Sun Division.
“The coaching staff pushes us every day. We have great coaches who put in countless hours and work hard to put us in the best position to be successful,” Chen-Young said.
Chen-Young was not surprised by the team’s first season success. “We worked hard for everything we got,” he explained. “Not many people get a chance to enter a new program and make history. Being able to have this opportunity is something we will cherish forever. Long after we are gone, we will be remembered, and this means the world to us.”
Chen-Young tallied 25 tackles and 6 interceptions in eight games for the Seahawks, which included one pass breakup, a forced fumble and one blocked kick. “Coach Socha and the staff set the bar extremely high, and they do not waiver for anybody,” he said. “We built a culture on exceeding his expectations day in and day out.”
Chen-Young also attributes his success to his high school days as a two-way player under coach Tom Abel. “Coach Abel valued character, hard work and family, which is very similar to coach Socha,” he said. “So, the transition to Keiser has been fairly easy.”
Chen-Young’s season with the Seahawks did not come without adversity. He sustained an ACL tear late in the season, but his accumulated season statistics were enough to earn him freshman conference player of the year.
“It was an overwhelming feeling,” he said. “It is great seeing all the hard work you put in and having it pay off. This award shows me my potential and that there’s more work to be done.”
Chen-Young has enjoyed the local support from fans last season. “Being close to home means the world to us. Having family and friends come watch you play is something you cannot substitute,” he said. “Having the whole city behind us feels great, and we hope to continue our success and having that support.”
Both Chen-Young and Socha agreed that there is work to be done for next season. “For 2019, our expectations stay the same, and the standard needs to raise in everything we do,” Socha said.
The Seahawks will play five home games next season, and Chen-Young will help lead the defensive unit as defensive back at the team’s newly built stadium at the flagship campus in West Palm Beach. To follow Chen-Young and the Keiser University Seahawks, visit www.kuseahawks.com.