MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - West Texas is home to some teams in the Minor Professional Football League. It started in 2009 and was founded to be a developmental league. The MPFL plays with NFL rules and has a high level of intensity. One team here is the West Texas Pride. The Pride is entering their third season in the league and is part of eight teams in the Western Conference.
"Tryouts this year, we had probably over 150 guys that actually tried out for the team. We had to dwindle that down to 56 players and we have 8 players on our practice squad. That was hard to do this year. Harder than it's been the last couple of years because we've got a lot of talent," said Harold Fuller, Pride's General Manager.
"I love football, I didn't think I'd be able to play full football. I thought I'd just do pick up football or flag football. So to actually be able to play full contact football again is pretty fun," said Robert Gunderson, first year player.
"It's really exciting. It's pretty awesome thinking that wow I'm done and then getting a chance to play again. It's really fun. I love the sport I've been playing since kindergarten. Started with flag football then moved to tackle and I've been playing ever since," said Tino Madrid, first year player.
"It gives you something to be proud of. I guess I just couldn't hang up the cleats, quit, yet so it was more of a recreational deal and then of course just being football. It's for the love of the game," said Chris Ware, third year player.
"The goal for the season, I already pushed it into them, is the main thing one not give up and games and keep pushing forward and moving forward. The real main goal is the championship because we get so close. First year, we were in the championship and lost. Last year, we got to the semifinals and lost. The only was for good is up right now so that's the main thing," said Fred Thrweatt, Pride Head Coach.
The team tries to do a charity event every home game throughout the season to make it a family event. The home opener for the West Texas Pride is this Saturday at Grande and kickoff is at 7 p.m. This game will raise money for St. Jude Children's Hospital.