af2 Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz Hold Open Tryout in Grand Rapids
by Randy Snow
Originally posted on OurSportsCentral.com, Friday, September 25, 2009
Former Grand Rapids Rampage head coach Sparky McEwen was in Grand Rapids yesterday to conduct an open player tryout for his new team, the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz of arenafootball2. The tryout was conducted at the Woodland Sports Complex on 28th Street. Although the turnout at this event was small, just two wide receivers and two defensive backs, McEwen said that this was just one of many tryouts and scouting trips planned by the Yard Dawgz in the coming months.
McEwen, who still lives in Grand Rapids when he is not coaching in Oklahoma City, said he has trips planned to Division II universities in Michigan like Ferris State, Grand Valley State and Saginaw Valley State looking for players. He also plans to visit teams in the Division I Mid-American Conference like Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan. College players in Oklahoma and Florida are also high on the list of recruiting areas for the team.
Even players in the new outdoors United Football League will be looked at by the Yard Dawgz coaching staff. McEwen intends to put the best product possible on the field for the fans in Oklahoma City.
The Yard Dawgz are even looking at building their own practice facility just for the team, something few af2 teams have.
“I’ve been reassured by my team owner that we are moving forward,” said McEwen. “Something is going to happen and its going to happen soon. We’re playing football!
As far as the future of the Rampage, McEwen was positive that Arena Football will return to the Van Andel Arena at some point in the not too distant future. “Dan (Devos) is a great owner,” McEwen said, “and he loves Arena Football. But he and Rampage Chief Operating Officer Scott Gorsline want things to be run the right way. It has to make sense. There has to be a model (for the AFL) that will last another 22 years.”
The Yard Dawgz will be holding another open tryout in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, September 30 at the Indoor Soccer Arena on McCormick Street. Check the Yard Dawgz official team web site for more details, www.okcyarddawgz.com.
An official announcement from the af2 on a restructuring of the 10-year-old league is expected on Monday, September 28.
While some teams in the af2 are taking a “wait and see” attitude, the Yard Dawgz are one team that is going “full speed ahead” towards playing again in 2010.