By DON STINE
Graduating high school doesn’t mean that young people need to give up their love of playing football thanks to the Jersey Shore Hurricanes.
The Jersey Shore Hurricanes, a team in the minor/semi-pro football world and affiliated with Major League Football, was founded in 2015 in Asbury Park by resident Tysef Meacham, 28, and Somerset resident Edd Gladney, 49. The mission of the program is to provide fundamental skill-development instruction and to teach the elements of football to young student-athletes who have a desire to compete in the higher level of football competition.
“We did it to bring something back to the community and it gives players a chance to play football after high school. It’s almost like adult Pop Warner for players 18 and over. After graduating high school, some players do not have an opportunity to play and this provides them with an opportunity to continue to play football. It gives them an alternative to not doing anything at all,” Meacham said.
For example, Brookdale Community College does not have a football team but the Jersey Shore Hurricanes gives students an avenue to play, maybe before they transfer to a four-year college.
“It gives us a chance to see what players are here in Asbury Park and makes sure that talent does not go to waste. It gets them to play at the next level and also gets them off the streets,” Meacham said.
“We also try to get them involved in the community so there is that aspect as well. It is something that has a positive impact on the community,” he said.
“Our program and all of our coaches and trainers are committed to providing an opportunity for players to expand their skill, their knowledge, and their love for football in an environment of positive reinforcement that teaches respect, discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship, commitment and hard work,” he said.
Players can range from 18 to 53 years old and the Hurricanes will play a 10-game season this year and they are two and zero in their pregame season so far.
“So we still have our season to look forward to. Our team is mostly from Asbury Park and Long Branch but also from all up and down the Jersey shore,” Meacham said.
The location of the 24 teams in the league range from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and the first game will be played on August 6 with a roster of about 45 players on the Hurricanes, who are rotated as much as possible.
For the most part the Hurricanes are running on a shoestring budget. Most money comes from Meacham’s and Gladney’s own pockets and the organization is looking find sponsors the team. Meacham said the Asbury Park/Wall Elks Lodge 128 is looking into giving the team some support.
For more information about the program go to www.jerseyshorehurricanes.com.
“All of the information is right there,” he said.