One step further: DePaul club football suits up with new helmets

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There’s something about the newness of an item that attracts people-the new car smell, the feeling of new shoes, the feel of freshly printed-paper.

For DePaul’s Football Club (DFC) team, that newness is helmets.

The club football team unveiled the helmets in the student center, attracting those who didn’t know DePaul had a club football team. The team is now one step closer to being ready for their debut of playing organized football in September with the National Club Football Association.

“I don’t think people really took us seriously until now,” Riley Halligan, DFC’s Club Football founder and president, said. “Initially pretty much all of our face time was through social media and things like that. Now that we actually have helmets and we’re strapping up, people see that we’re legit and this is actually happening.”

Halligan and head coach Carlos Jones fielded questions and interest from potential students as they let people know they were a team. They recently acquired 50 helmets and 50 practice pads. They have around 35 members right now, but Halligan and Jones are hoping they can add five to ten new players before the start of next season.

It has been a long process for DFC to get to this point, who found themselves in the spring of 2013. DFC has had to recruit teammates, secure funding from the Student Activity Fee Board and obtain an indoor practice facility. The team’s finally approaching their goal.

“We’re actually behind the eight ball,” Halligan said. “Most schools we’ll be playing are already established. All these other teams have a coaching staff and tackle pads. The one thing they’ll have that we don’t is experience.”

DFC will be competing with the likes of Robert Morris University, Southern Illinois and even cross-city rival, Loyola. Other universities that have established Division I football programs also have club football teams such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State.

“This is our first year doing this,” Jones said. “These programs have been around five or seven years. We’re the rookies coming in.”

“We have a talented nucleus to build around, but talent will only get you so far,” Halligan added.

The team has spent the last months preparing for a fall debut. While they have not had any full-contact practice yet, Jones is getting his team to work on conditioning and have done position orientated drills. DFC also has put in 35 plays to run.

These are all steps so that DFC doesn’t fizzle out within one or two years of becoming a team. Halligan pointed to other universities that established a club football team, but ended up stopping because they came in unprepared. He wants the team to be a long lasting product.

In fact, Halligan says that DFC could have scrambled to put together a team and compete during this past season. Yet, they are clearly taking their time to make sure everything is in place.

DFC wants to win.

“We expect adversity and we expect a struggle, but we expect to win,” Jones said. “We expect to give a good product.”