Semi-pro team seeks players|Tryouts for Lions to be held at the Andrews Center

Published 12:24 pm Friday, April 23, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Sports Writer
This time of year hundreds of football players will get a crack at living out their dream. All the hard work they have put into their sport over a lifetime will have paid off when a representative from the NFL calls out their name on draft day and tells them they have a shot to play football at the highest level.
Everybody’s path to the NFL is not the same. Some are highly touted prospects from the time they left their high school, others had to walk-on at every level. Some have missed their calling by making mistakes along the way.
All too often an athlete with potential falls by the wayside because maybe he didn’t work hard enough on the field or in the classroom, or worse.
For those athletes that for one reason or another feel that their potential was never properly put on display, the Alliance Football League is looking for you.
The AFL is a semi-pro football league that has been operational for some time now, and thanks to new team owner Frank Simmons eastern North Carolina will now have a team.
Simmons, 37, recently bought the defunct New Bern Grizzlies and transformed them into the East Carolina Lions.
Simmons will be holding tryouts for area players this Saturday and is looking to fill the 30 or so vacant spots on his roster.
The tryouts will be held at the Bobby Andrews Recreation center in Washington and will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m., with drills taking place at 9 a.m. There is a $30 registration fee.
Simmons, who played football at West Carteret High School and has had coaching stints at Croatan High School, East Carteret and Havelock Middle School, said the AFL is a good place for athletes to work on their game.
“The AFL is an established, well-known league,” Simmons said. “We play most of our games in North Carolina, but the league stretches all over the country. Scouts do come to the games and some of our guys have gone on to the CFL.”
Aside from giving former athletes another chance to play football, Simmons said his team provides something positive for the community.
“I bought this team because I love this sport,” Simmons said. “I also think it is a good opportunity to get some of these guys off the streets and give them something to do.”
Anyone interested in finding out more information on the AFL can go to the