Ashley Jackson, Jett Zero, Ray Bentley, Beat Writers
Banner image by J.R. Lawless
Last week was the start of our Meet the Season 14 Draft Class: Who’s Who article, and the response from both veterans and newbies alike has been exceptionally positive. Teams want to see more of the rookies, rookies want to ensure teams can get to know them and see where best they’d be drafted – it’s a win-win situation! This week, Ashley, Jett and myself spoke with two people who will be joining the Season 14 Draft Broadcast, a former non-contract player looking to sign on a dotted line, and three other rookie prospects who are chomping at the bit to #MakeAnImpact in Season 14 and beyond. Don’t just take my word for it though: read on, and meet 6 more draft prospects who can’t wait to get on-field and prove their mettle.
Who are you and what are you interests?
Ckylar Kingsley: My name is Ckylar Kingsley, and I am in 8th grade and I love doing and being around sports.
Phoenix Jones: My name is Phoenix Jones and I am 28 years old from Miami FL. I am a sports fanatic and have played almost all sports. Football, soccer and baseball competitively.
James Manzi: I’m James Manzi, I’m 13, and live in Atlanta, Georgia. One of my main hobbies is to create fictional leagues or re-align existing leagues, as well as simulate leagues.
Jonny Pichler: I’m Jonny Pichler. I’m a proud father of two amazing daughters, Gracie and Gabriella. I am also a proud US Army veteran who served on active duty for six years from 2007-2013. Almost all of my hobbies and passions surround sports, whether that be actively playing real sports, fighting for a third straight fantasy football championship, working within esports, or playing sports video games.
Jack Bowden: My name is Jack Bowden. I am 23 years old and I am a die hard football fan and other sports fan, and I also love video games, customizing characters and making custom football teams.
Jerry Nice: My name is Aaron; I am a 33 year old father of 5 and happily engaged and work as a professional paver on roads and parking lots for over 15 years. My interests are all sports really, but football is my love (without her i would die lol). I watch every NFL game I can on Sunday and play in multiple fantasy leagues. I also like to play games. Also in my spare time love to sing and go camping and fishing. Another love of mine lol but most of my interest and time goes into my children – they are my number 1 no matter what.
How did you find out about the SFL?
JM: I found about the SFL via a “sports simulation leagues” search on Google.
JP: I stumbled upon the SFL while surfing PS Vue. I immediately took a Snapchat of the action and sent it to my brother, whose passions are similarly aligned with my own. I knew I wanted to go all in with this league immediately! I have a background in e-sports, and most recently worked for the Golden State Warriors as their NBA2k Consultant. In the e-sports world, I’m known as Jonny2k, (follow me on Twitter @TheJonny2k, cough) – shameless plug. Knowing that relocation to a city that currently fields a team in the NBA2k League was not realistic for my family and I, I recently stepped away from the scene. The timeliness of discovering the SFL truly filled an immediate void in my life, and it feels like a dream to have discovered it.
I found the SFL by turning on my team and watching the championship game! WOW. What had I been doing with my life! How did I not know about this? I was hooked! Had to get involved!
~ Phoenix Jones
JB: I found out about the SFL through a Google search for a simulation football league after hearing about them from a friend
JN: I was channel surfing on my TV and stopped on Eleven Sports. Boom, there was the SFL championship game!!! With amazing commentary!
CK: I found out about the SFL by scrolling through the channel guide with my dad. We found a simulation football game on and thought that looks interesting, and then I did some research on how to join.
What was the first game that you watched and describe the feeling you received while watching it?
JP: I actually didn’t watch much of the first game I discovered on television, because I immediately grabbed my laptop and wanted to dig and learn as much as I could about the league. The first full game I watched was a historic game on YouTube. It involved Mexico City and all I remember is Ray Bentley exposing the opponent’s defense as he ran all over them for multiple scores. The feeling it gave me was excitement and borderline envy; I’m next, I told myself, this league will know my name.
JB: The first game I watched was the Season 13 championship game and I loved that I could watch it from a TV app! I loved the back and forth actions.
The first game I watched was the season 12 kickoff game – I knew I had to get involved in this.
~ James Manzi
JN: The latest championship between Seattle and Denver and it was awesome. It was like watching a real game – the commentary was amazing so it made me feel like I needed to be a part of this league immediately, and excited to hopefully be a part of something special.
CK: I watched a playoff game. It was so interesting on how you can just schedule week by week games and have actual people be in it.
PJ: The championship game! …I was hooked! Had to get involved!
What positions are you trying to fill, and why did you select those particular positions?
JP: I’m going to play quarterback, plain and simple. It’s what I know, it’s where I belong. I know how to command a team; I know how to be a leader of men on and off of the field. I know how to hype up my teammates while simultaneously keeping us levelheaded. I’ll put the ball in my playmakers’ hands, I’ll let them do the rest, I’ll cheer for our defense, and I’ll always adhere to my coach’s guidance.
JB: I am trying to fill the positions of Defensive End or Linebacker, cause I love the idea of sacking the Quarterback – like my favorite college player, Josh Allen.
JN: I would like to be a Wide Receiver because it’s my favorite position. I played it in high school along with Running Back. I also would like to be a Free Safety or Cornerback; these are all the positions I played.
CK: Running Back or Quarterback, because I think I work really good on offense with the ball.
PJ: I will play any position. I am a total team player and I want to bring a title to my city! Whoever decides to draft the “Phoenix “ will receive a legendary beast that will fly high for the ultimate goal! A “chip” for his city!
JM: My top position I want to play is quarterback, for that’s what I play in real life and its typically the face of the franchise. After that, wide receiver – I play that sometimes too. Then running back, which I play a little bit, and then tight end (which is rare i play tight end but I do sometimes). Again, it goes QB-WR-RB-TE, and I would love to play quarterback, but my draft stock will really peak its maximum, as well as the amount of teams who are interested in me.
Do you plan to get involved with the SFL in more than one capacity, such as broadcasting, beat team or stats?
JB: Currently, no. I want to start out by seeing how I like it first.
JN: I have all intentions of being a long time member of the SFL, and wouldn’t mind trying new things like broadcasting or stats
CK: I don’t know; maybe. I didn’t know there was so much more!
PJ: I would love to get involved. In my brief time with the league it has proved to be an incredible experience with great people.
JM: I plan on doing broadcasting and / or stats later on in my career.
JP: I plan on aiding the league in any possible way that I can. I believe my experience within e-sports will serve my future team and the league well. I want to start with the team that selects me and boost us socially and truly create a brand. I have experience with brand creation, social marketing, and sponsorship sales. This league is tremendous as it sits currently, and I commend all of the raw effort and sweat SFL leadership and staffers have put in to create the fantastic product that exists. That being said, I see even bigger picture potential for the SFL looming just around the corner, and I will be here whenever league leadership comes calling to utilize me as an asset to aid in taking this league to future heights.
What are your expectations from the team that drafts you?
JN: My expectations from my team that drafts me are high, to give me a chance to shine show the world what I can do ….winning the ‘ship is top priority and expectations are all at all time high. I expect the team to that takes a chance on me to give me opportunity to shine and show what I can do
CK: My expectations are easy: I want to be accepted.
PJ: I don’t have any expectations from my future employer. The only thing that I would ask is that my future team assist in my growth and contribution to the team. My only goal would be as an ultimate team player and bring a championship back to the town.
JM: My expectations from the team that drafts me are Respect, Honor, Commitment and to enjoy my presence in the locker room.
JP: While maintaining humility, I have the inclination I am going to be selected rather early in the draft on December 14th. If this rings true, I will likely be selected by a team coming off a losing season. This is fine by me. What I expect is that we re-tool and rebuild together quickly and as efficiently as possible. I expect clear and positive lines of communication between team leadership and our players. I expect us to hold one another accountable as we build a special culture and brand. I expect us to go out and compete for victories as a cohesive unit week in and week out. I expect the best my future team’s leadership has to offer and I expect the absolute best out of my teammates, because you’ll never get anything less from me.
JB: I want them to be team first, glory second. By that I mean I want a team that is full of team players not glory hounds
What values will you bring to your team?
CK: I will bring strength, courage, and power.
PJ: I work and play in a drama free zone. My future employer can be assured that I will do what is asked. Besides my on the field talent I expect to contribute in the community whether that is the future growth of the league or team. Let’s share this great game with as many people as we can.
JM: The values I will bring to my team are the same I expect from the team who drafts me – respect, honor, commitment.
JP: Loyalty, Integrity, Resilience, Passion, and Leadership.
I will bring a witty and team first attitude to any team that matters. I will try to be the best teammate I can be!
~ Jack Bowden
JN: The values I bring to my team is sportsmanship and leadership and a winning and competitive attitude not scared of any team or player
How do you handle trash talk and adversity?
PJ: I do my trash talking on the field. When I blow past an opponent they can do all the cursing under their breath that they wish – as long as they know they’re not catching me
JM: If you come up to me and say something bad to me, I might say something back, I might not. I’d let my playing do the talking on the field. I would also like to apologize to everybody for any hurtful or disrespectful comment I’ve made to anybody. In terms of adversity, I look at this way: when you fail, you can look at yourself straight in the eye and say, okay, what did I do wrong? Off that, when I watch film, I can get a lot more accurate of an assessment of what I need to improve on.
JP: There is nothing wrong with a little chirping; there is absolutely nothing wrong with gamesmanship in its rawest form. This is one of the greatest elements of sports. You can still do this while maintaining respect for your opponent; to utterly attack or disrespect somebody personally is a different story. On the field, sometimes I am the instigator, I’ll admit it, but it’s because I take pride in my mental toughness and the chess game I like to play with my opponents. If I am the instigator, it’s not to satisfy my own ego, but rather to force a reaction out of my opponent. That all being said, I’m actually rather tamed on the gridiron unless provoked by an opponent. If a defensive player wants to make sure he’s heard after he sacks me or catches an interception, then I’ll be sure he hears me when I answer by putting six on the board.
JB: I will try to turn any negative comments into inspiration for me to get better
Let your play do the talking. Nothing ever good comes from trash talk – don’t stoop to the level of the other team. Play your game! That’s all you can do. I always said it don’t matter if you win by 1 or 50, winning is winning! Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades
~ Jerry Nice
CK: I handle it well, and I don’t mind it from others.
Why should a team select you in the draft?
JM: A team should select me because not only would I upgrade their team at the position they look to draft me at, but I will add a positive and humorous presence to the locker room, and make an impact on and field.
JP: There is really only one reason they shouldn’t. They shouldn’t draft me if they already have a quarterback in combination with the culture they desire.
JB: Because I will always try to bring a positive attitude and will try to be the best I can be
JN: A team should select me for their team because I can be a leader and a team player, whatever my team asks of me. I will give my all to this league and team and never turn my back on my teammates. Win, Baby, Win!
CK: I want to see what it is like to be a pro at the Simulation Football League.
PJ: Heart, dedication, commitment, loyalty.
Where are you ranked on the Rookie Big Board and how many check-ins have you done?
JP: I have checked in 7 times so I believe I will have checked in 11 times come draft day; I have never missed a check-in since discovering the league. I believe there are currently 58 rookies with more banked weeks than me at this time.
JB: Jack Bowden has 2 weeks banked on the Rookie Big Board, having joined at Week 11 of Season 13.
JN: I have not been able to checkin yet; I just joined SFL and will check in ASAP!
CK: I’m ranked 324 but only because I just joined.
PJ: My agent encouraged my involvement with the league citing my unique talents and blend of raw talent. Most importantly he advised that I would have a chance to #MakeAnImpact. I am currently ranked in the 160 range I have two successful check ins out of 2. Like the Phoenix, I expect to rise from the ashes and climb the leaderboards.
JM: I’m ranked on the top of the big board with everybody else who has made perfect check-ins. I think we all have an argument for the number one pick!
What are your personal goals for your SFL career? Goals for your team?
JB: My goals for my team are to bring them all the championships and accolades they deserve. As for me, I want to be known as a great player and teammate.
JN: I would like to be successfu,l but at the same time if it’s not fun its not worth doing, so I wanna be competitive and one day become a coach and then finally a owner. The goals I have for my team would be to practice good but play hard so we can win the ‘ship! So – a winning season and a strong push in the playoffs, and hope to come out on top at the end of the day
My goal is to #MakeAnImpact, and be strong in the Simulation Football League.
PJ: First is get drafted! Get involved! Contribute to my team and bring a championship home! I would like to get into broadcasting. I would like to give back to the the league that has welcomed me with open arms. 2 – 5 year plan I would like to own my own team. Win rookie of the year. I would like to have a winning 1st season. I want to bring a championship home! I will shoot for the moon! Even if I fall short I’m still among the stars!
JM: My personal goals are to win championships, games, become a hall-of-famer, have an illustrious SFL career, and be involved heavily with the league. my goals for the team that drafts me are: win championships and win games, as well as having fun together.
JP: What’s most important to me is earning the all around respect of the SFL community. This begins with earning the respect of my teammates and coaches. I want to build something special in the city I end up in. I want to lead by example and show the rest of the SFL how to build a successful brand around yourself. Eventually I would like to garner the respect of my opponents, SFL veterans, SFL legends, the media, and SFL fans around the globe. The standards, expectations, and goals I set for myself are intertwined with the expectations I have for my future team. Again, this is all centered around respect; we will be respected for our efforts both on and off of the field. I want our team to grow the largest fan base in the entire SFL. I want our organization to build a culture that is admired and sought after. I want our team to win and win often. I will do everything within my power to bring Championships to my city and I will be honored to receive any personal accolades that come along with the journey. You don’t have to like me, but I promise when it’s all said and done, you will respect me, and you will respect my commitment to excellence.
What is the most important aspect of being on a team?
JN: There is no I in Team ….Teamwork is the most important aspect…You win as a team and lose as a team; it’s a brotherhood that cannot be broken
CK: Being a good person, and being a family.
PJ: In football more than anything else, teamwork is crucial. The best running back can’t run unless his team blocks for him. The best wide receiver in the world can’t catch a ball unless his team throws him the ball. A team is one unit, hand-in-hand attempting to reach the ultimate goal: Victory.
JM: the most important aspect about being on a team is learning how to savor victory and accept defeat, and to be there for one another.
The true bond and lifelong friendships that you form from being on a team far outweigh any on the field accolade one could earn in my opinion.
~ Jonny Pichler
JB: Knowing that it’s not all about you. It’s a team sport for a reason
Have you ever played sports? If so, what sports, and what were your positions?
CK: I play football! I am a quarterback, and I also play basketball and baseball. For baseball I play 3rd base; for basketball, I play center.
PJ: I have played running back, wide receiver, and defensive back. I have played linebacker and defensive end for flag/touch leagues. I am a striker in soccer and center fielder in baseball. Still play soccer and football in local leagues.
JM: Center in roller hockey, and forward in Soccer. I currently play roller hockey; used to play soccer.
JP: I was raised a multi-sport athlete; growing up, I played football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, taking football and baseball the furthest. I still play football for a competitive traveling men’s contact flag football league. I play quarterback.
JB: I thought about trying out for wrestling in high school, but I never went through with it, so no.
JN: I have played many sports and have had many positions….my first love, football I played until I graduated. I was a running back and free safety. I also played basketball and played shooting guard and point guard. I played baseball for a few years and played catcher and pitcher.
Any shout outs or last words?
PJ: Yes. In my brief time I have met many new friends. Some I will meet on the gridiron, and some will be my teammates, but all will be part of my new extended family: the SFL!! I would like to thank a few people that we’re especially kind and helpful. Kramer Sansone, Jeremy V , ImaFnproblem (I hope I can say that on here) Crash Combs, Dion Hawkins, AJ Travon, Xander Gold and Mike Improta. I’m sure I am missing many more but a big thanks to all of you! Forget to add ReignMan!!
JM: Good luck to all my fellow rookies! I hope you get drafted to the team and position you want!
JP: First I would like to thank you for inviting me to be interviewed with you today; it was my honor and a pleasure. I again tip my cap to everyone involved in creating and adding to the beautiful product that makes the SFL what it is today. I would like to thank my deceased father for teaching me so many values in life that one could never put a price on. I love you Dad. I would like to shout out my amazing partner for life, the beautiful Kelly LaBrash, for not only putting up with all of my hobbies, but for always truly supporting me and encouraging me to chase my passions. To my future teammates, I look forward to meeting you all very soon! To my future opponents, if you don’t know me now, you’ll know me soon enough.
JB: I will end this with a quote: “Life’s about how much you can take and keep moving forward.”
JN: Shout to the founders and all the members of SFL! This league is amazing and I thank you all for it; I cant wait to become a member of a team and have fun and compete all season long – and for seasons and seasons to come!