Written by Matthew Slinn, Images by J.R. Lawless

Hello, and welcome to a spicy version of the Rookie Rendezvous series – the place where rookies get a chance to thrive and show that they can answer some tough questions positively. Today in the chair, we have a pair of big personalities: Eagle Mondavi and Rosca Santigria. Both players are touted to go fairly high in the draft, and tonight’s interviews are surely going to solidify that feeling. We’ll be starting with, Eagle Mondavi…

Slinn: Mr. Mondavi! So glad I can sit down with you and pick your rookie brain about all things SFL! I start all of these things with a story – namely, your story. How did the SFL find you, and has it been everything you expected it to be when you went down the rabbit hole?

Eagle: One day I was looking for something to put on the tv at the brewery I work at – I was like ‘what is this?’ I was confused with what i was watching. My first experience was coming across the last rookie draft on Eleven Sports. I pulled my phone out and googled what the SFL was. I think a week later myself and two other friends purchased our subs. It’s been a great experience so far, I’ve been furloughed from work since March and this league has helped out with my mental health. I was on Chicago in Season 14 and had a great time in that locker room. I feel that I’m only at the start of the rabbit hole, I had a ps3 at home. I purchased the game for that and downloaded a ps3 emulator for my computer. I hope to help out whatever team selects me in this upcoming draft.

Slinn: I think, going into this draft, it’s a real positive for a rookie to say ‘I’ve been here through Season 14’. It shows alot of loyalty. Also, I am partial to an American Pale Ale! Is there a receiver from last season that you liked to watch in particular? Or a receiver who you would like to emulate?

Eagle: I signed with Chicago just a couple of weeks after Liam Hammer signed and he took the league by storm. I would have been curious if he played the whole season what his final season stats would have been. I feel like Hammer is a good example of someone I would like to emulate. Having watched him and what he can do, I have set some high standards for myself. I think with the help of the coaching staff and some veterans I will be able to hit my goals.

Slinn: Aiming for the success Liam Hammer has had in such a short time with the league is admirable and plays to your clear ambitious personality. On that point, what key personality traits would you look for in a rookie, if you were tasked with drafting for a team?

Eagle: The first personality trait I would look for is respect. Does that player respect his teammates, coaching staff, his organization and the game itself? A second trait I would look for is the ability to adapt to certain situations. You may have to make sacrifices on the field for the greater good, but the team comes first.

Slinn: If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were a seasoned GM with that answer Eagle! Couldn’t have put it better myself! On the other side of the coin, I’m sure many a staff member out there would be interested to know, what you look for in a team? And whether anything would dissuade you from wanting to join a franchise?

Eagle: In a team I’m looking for an organization that will help me grow and build my player on and off the field. I have ambitions to take on a front office role in the future. I would love if the organization would help me obtain this goal. To answer your second question, I would currently at this time say no. I have heard negative stories about teams in the past, but let the past be in the past. There is always two sides to a story.

Slinn: An extremely sensible approach that I would echo in its entirety. Every opinion is tainted by some kind of bias, so it’s best to make up your own mind from your own experiences. One thing I haven’t spoken about with many rookies is where they want their progress to take them. Have you had any thoughts about what to do with your build during Season 15?

Eagle: I have had a couple thoughts of where I want my build to go in Season 15. Saying that, I want to wait and talk with the organization first to see where my build is best needed. I would love to be an outside big threat WR. If the team needs me to play in the slot, I’ll build a slot receiver.

Slinn: On this topic, I’d advise every rookie to enter the player builder and just tinker about with potential progression, including yourself. If nothing else, it will increase your understanding. Moving away from the draft, let’s talk the SFL. Is there a League or Team staff position you would like to aim for?

Eagle: I think I would want to do the whole cycle for the team staff. Start off helping the OC or DC with running sims. Then start to help the GM. I want to learn all of the roles in the organization. League position – I’m not thinking about any of those currently. Lets see how the team staff positions go first.

Slinn: Ok Eagle, well thank you so much for a tremendous interview. You’ve really acquitted yourself well. My final question is about enjoyment, which is a nice place to end on. What part of the league have you gotten the most joy from so far?

Eagle: I would say the camaraderie and the friendships that I am starting to build with other people in the league. I came into this league with two other friends. I feel like I already have become friends with a lot of other people in this league.

Slinn: Once again, Eagle, thank you for a great talk and good luck in the draft.

Eagle: And if you ever need someone to play on a cold, rainy Tuesday night in Stoke. I’ll be there…

From one memorably named player to another. Boise State star, Rosca Santigria joins me to discuss juicy details, including where he may like to land in the SFL Draft. 

Slinn: So Mr. Santigria, I guess the first topic I want to being up is less about your current journey within the SFL but your journey to finding it. Alot of the community like to hear how others found the league that they love, and I’m sure they’d all like to hear your account.

Rosca: Well my journey to finding the SFL was actually due to my friend Harrison Walton. Although he isn’t one who likes the spotlight, he was the one who showed me the ropes about this place and stats in general. We would always play in fantasy basketball leagues and when he told me about the SFL, it just stuck like glue. He would show me excel sheets of sports stats all the time, and I thats why I chose the name “Stat Man” for my player.

Slinn: From my brief time talking with you, I’ve heard you mention the word ‘stats‘ lots of times, so you fit the alias well! How are you finding the minor league process? Is it good to be part of a locker room atmosphere already?

Rosca: The minor league has been great, I’ve been able to see my defensive back make 2 defensive touchdowns and actually be really good in the game. I hear a lot of people looking for taller defensive backs, and since mine is 6’1, I know he’s statistically smaller than the wide receivers in both minor league and the pro league. To be real, I made him 6’1 because it was the height of my favorite athletes Deion Sanders and Jeff Hardy. So the process of making a star rookie player has definitely paid off.

I find the drafting process a rather exciting process, as I just sit back and continue doing what I’m doing until Draft Day comes. I feel like the locker room atmosphere is 100% what makes this league so great during a time like this. The Boise Mud Dogs locker room is great, and I really hope my brothers in that locker room have a successful draft day and a successful pro season, even if it means we are wearing different uniforms and on different sides of the field. I’ll be making another video edit montage with the music being played by my teammate Ricky Thornton, who is another CB on the team, so shout out to him too. Shout out to Fox Highwind, Thomas Smith, Delaney Nash, Sammy Steele – man the whole entire Dog Pack.

Slinn: You strike me as an extremely ‘team-focused’ guy. Is there a particular team, or teams, that have stood out to you since entering the league?

Rosca: Yeah. My first sport position was a rowing coaxswain in college, and I’ve always been good at keeping that teammates first mindset afterwards.

The teams that stood out to me so far were the Denver Nightwings, Portland Fleet, Charleston Predators, and the Atlanta Swarm. So far I like these teams because of their team chemistry and because I’ve lived in most of those cities before. And I know that the SFL is a lot different than the SFLm from a stats and team perspective, so I’m really just hoping to find a team that can help me build my CB for the long term while also being great on and off the field.

Slinn: That’s quite a selection of teams! Who knows, maybe you’ll end up on one of them come July! Back to an SFLm focus for a minute. As a CB, has there been a particular wide receiver you have faced who has given you trouble, or stood out on the field?

Rosca: Well there are two wide receivers that I’ve played against that I still remember. First was Beth Horrell from Birmingham Fuel and second was Doug Briton from San Jose Flight. Both are very good wide receivers on the field and its very interesting to see how CBs and WRs are matched up during SFL games. So shout out to them and I wish them good luck on the upcoming draft.

Slinn: And flipping the same question around somewhat…Are there any current SFL cornerback you would like to emulate? Any that stand out from amongst the crowd of veterans?

Rosca: Ryan Michaels and Eddie Gauge are two defensive backs that come to mind. I know that Ryan is retired now, but I’ve always wanted to build my cornerback based off his stats and he seems to be a nice person overall.

Eddie has always been good at promoting himself and his team, Arizona Scorpions. I’ve always enjoyed talking with him in voice chat as it helped me learn more about the game. And he even uses social media and video as a way of putting himself out there. So shout out to the both of them.

Slinn: Very interesting that you choose two players who have made their names in the Houston Hyenas organisation with Demond Simean. I wonder if that gives a clue as to where you might be going this draft? Speaking of the draft, are you confident of being selected at your primary position, and have you got any idea where you would like to end up?

Rosca: I feel like the draft is always a period of uncertainty, as no one knows what teams they’ll be apart of until Draft Day comes. Based on my player’s previous 9 games, I’m confident that I’ll be selected at my primary position. There’s been so many teams that I’ve talked to, so I’d want to say thank you to all the owners and GMs that contacted me before I say the Top 5 teams I’d like to end up at. I don’t want to offend any of the owners, but this was the teams I’ve decided based on personal encounters and how I viewed their locker room culture.

1: Denver
2: Portland
3: Charleston
4: Lone Star
5: Baltimore

Slinn: I like the bravery and honesty of your answer – alot of players would have been much more vague! Okay, my final question is a chance for you to definitively sell yourself to the wider community. What should we expect from Santagria, on and off the field in Season 15?

Rosca: Thank you. I’ve had my eyes on those teams for a long time, and I’m really flexible to where I end up as long as the locker room culture is at a 90 stat level. On field, I hope to build Rosca Santigria for the long term. I know all the wide receivers in the SFL league are built like 6’4 tall trees, but I can’t wait to improve my stats so that my character can get it cracking with the pros. Off field, more stats, more meme videos, more twitter posts, and more interviews like this from the Stat Man himself!

Slinn: Well, I for one, am looking forward to seeing you thrive over the coming seasons. Let’s hope you become that next Ryan Michaels. Thank you for your time.

Rosca: Gracias Amigo! I wish you and everyone in this League a safe and amazing time. And good luck during Season 15.

That concludes yet another Rookie Rendezvous, which could arguably be the nest yet! Expect more in the coming days, and enjoy the SFLm Championship game, coming up soon.