af2Network Brings Players and Coaches Together
by Randy Snow
Originally posted on ArenaFan.com, Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Jimmy Kibble knows how hard it can be for athletes to get noticed by the right people. That’s why the Virginia businessman, and former kicker of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers, has entered into a partnership with arenafootball2. He has created a web site called af2Network.com that is intended to bring current and potential af2 players into contact with coaches within the League.
For Kibble, it all began with a web site called SuperRecruits.com in 2003. That web site helps high school athletes get noticed by college scouts. High school players can upload their grades, statistics and even game highlights onto the web site, making it easier for college recruiters to find them.
The inspiration for af2Network came about following the success of SuperRecruits.com as well as from the current popularity of social web sites like MySpace and Facebook. But instead of just meeting new people or keeping in touch with friends, the idea behind af2Network is to get coaches and prospective players in contact with one another, in one central location. Players can post highlight videos on the site and self promote themselves to the coaches around the af2.
The idea for af2Network is simple. Athletes who are looking to play in the af2 can simply go to the web site and create a profile of themselves free of charge. They can list their vital information and playing experience, sort of like an online resume. Players who played in the League last season are currently being loaded into the web site’s database.
“There is no other system like it,” said Kibble. “We’re telling the athletes, ‘Go promote yourselves,’ and we’re telling the coaches that (the player’s information) is accessible.”
Within days of the site going on-line back in October, Kibble was getting calls from coaches who were already using it to recruit players for the 2008 season.
“When I came out of Virginia Tech I had no idea the af2 existed,” Kibble said. “I know to this day that there are quite a few college seniors that don’t know about the af2.
“The af2 was such a great stepping stone for me. It eventually got me to the AFL with the New York Dragons, NFL Europe and into the NFL preseason with the Philadelphia Eagles. I try to advise any athlete that is serious about continuing their career to seriously consider the af2. I had a lot of fun playing.
“For the coaches looking for talent, they can be looking at graduating seniors from Division III to Division I all year long,” said Kibble. “They can start planning ahead of time and not have to wait until after the season is over to conduct team tryouts.”
And it is not just American football players who are using the af2Network. Players from several countries around the world have been registering on the site as well.
The goal is to have two or three af2 National Combines sometime in February and March, prior to the start of the 2008 af2 season. But in order to participate in these national tryouts, athletes must be registered with the af2Network in advance.
It seems like such a simple idea. A central database of current players and athletes who want to get a tryout with the League that coaches have access to anytime they want. I’m surprised that no one ever thought of it before. Well, luckily, someone finally did.
About Jimmy Kibble
Kibble was a place kicker at Virginia Tech and played in five bowl games during his collegiate career including the 2000 Sugar Bowl against Florida State for the National Championship. He then went on to play for the af2 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers from 2002-2003, the AFL New York Dragons in 2003, the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe in 2005. He then signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagle and was on the team’s preseason roster.
Another company that Kibble owns, KickN DesignS.net, designs web sites for af2 teams. Kibble has signed a three-year deal with the af2 to run af2Network.com.
Web Site Links
Recruits – For High School Athletes