Group of John Marshall grads bringing amateur football back to Rochester
The Super Bowl may be over, but football in Rochester is just getting started.
The Med City Freeze, a newly-formed amateur football team, is scheduled to make its home debut April 30 at RCTC Regional Stadium.
The Freeze is one of four expansion teams this year for the Southern Plains Football League — an adult nine-man, full-contact league with squads in Minnesota, South Dakota and northern Iowa. The league is celebrating its 20th anniversary this season.
Owners Storm Soto, Jeff Sipple and Tim Nela — all graduates of John Marshall High School — will join 38 other men on the roster for the Freeze this season. The team organized two local tryouts prior to forming the team.
"When we started this, we had big hopes," said Nela. "On paper, we have a very talented roster. I haven’t played for 10 years, but this roster has given me all the courage to get back onto that field.”
Hometown hero Marcus Sherels, along with Clements Suburu, are the team's top financial supporters. According to Nela, Sherels has been involved since the beginning and even came up with the team's name.
Players in the league are not paid, meaning most guys are doing it for nothing more than the love of the game. However, scouts occasionally do attend the games and there have been examples of players making the jump up to the Indoor Football League.
The Freeze will play four home games this season, plus another four on the road. The team will also get the chance to play in the Winter Pigskin Classic at the new US Bank Stadium in December.
To give back to the community, the team will have a special section on game days for members of the Boys and Girls Club. Then in the off-season, it plans to hold football camps and another community events featuring Freeze players.
All home games will be played on Saturday nights at 7 p.m. Tickets run $6 for individuals 13 and older; children under 12 get in for free.
The last local amateur football team, the Rochester Giants, disbanded in 2013 after 13 seasons of play. Last month, a team calling itself the Rochester Bills created a website and purportedly held tryouts. However, the team's future plans remain unclear. Messages to the group went unreturned.
Among the active amateur teams in Rochester are the Honkers baseball club and the Ice Hawks junior hockey team. There have also been talks about bringing USHL and NBA D-League teams to Rochester.
(Cover graphic: Med City Freeze)