NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The Monroe College football team wrapped up its first official week of practice on Friday at City Park at Fosina Field in New Rochelle.
Approximately 115 players dressed in blue and white jerseys strapped on pads for the first time this year and held a full contact practice. The practice was the culmination of 11 months of work to build a football program at a time when many college teams, including Iona, cut their football teams.
“I think Monroe College has felt it was a decision that was [for] the betterment of the college,” said head coach Terry Karg. “I think that this is good for Monroe and we want to do a good job and represent the college with a high level of character and do things the right way.”
Karg, who has coached at the high school, junior college and Arena League levels, led the Mustangs through practice this week. He started by teaching schemes to the offense, defense and special teams and transitioned into the “nuts and bolts” of the game with full contact practice.
The team is 98 percent freshmen, which Karg said was the result of a concerted effort by the coaching staff. The program has existed for less than a year, but Karg has been pleased with the results despite the youth of both the players and the program.
“I think that we’re progressing. If I was to evaluate where we’re at, I would say I’m content with where we’re at,” Karg said. “I wouldn’t say I’m overly happy but I’m definitely not down.”
Monroe’s roster consists of players from as close as New Rochelle and as far away as Florida and Texas. Karg said the Mustangs provide a chance, particularly for local players, to play the game they love.
“They haven’t had this opportunity. It’s been a much needed opportunity as far as junior college football in the city,” Karg said. “Here in Westchester, Rockland and the Bronx, it’s a great opportunity for young men who haven’t had it for many, many years.”
Monroe opens its season at Wagner College on Sept. 2 at 1:00 p.m. but will play a scrimmage against Valley Forge Military Academy on Aug. 25 at 12:00 p.m.
And Karg can’t wait.
“We’re going to make the most of those two weeks before the 25th of August and we’ll get on the bus that morning and go to Philadelphia and get to line up against somebody with the opposite color,” Karg said. “So that’ll be fun.”