Friday, March 21, 2008

Former Ben-Gal Heads New NAFL Dance Team 

Posted by Sasha at 5:51 PM ET

Vikings looking for dance team
Betsy Scott

Dust off your pompoms, girls, there could be a place for you with the North Coast Vikings.

The Lake County-based minor-league football team is adding a dance group to its attractions for the 2008 season. Tryouts for the dance and football teams are 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at The Edge in Twinsburg.

"One of the things we wanted to improve on this offseason was the experience that a fan will have when attending a Vikings game this summer," said Tom Zapp, team general manager and a 2001 Berkshire High School graduate. "We feel as though the dance squad will be one of the many things that we are doing to help meet that goal."

The dancers will be unpaid, just like the football players. The team, which is part of the North American Football League, generally draws players from Lake and surrounding counties.

Former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Holly Brannan, who lives in Stow, will be cheerleading adviser. Brannan said she is looking for 12 women for the dance team. The only qualification to try out is to love cheering, Zapp said, adding that experience is encouraged but not required.Practice will be once or twice a week, and games are Saturday nights, June 7 through Aug. 23. Home games are at the Chardon High School stadium.

Zapp said more effort is going into marketing, and partnerships have been developed with Panini's in Concord Township and Zeppe's Pizzeria in Chardon. The pizzeria will send out game schedules with every pie, he said.

In addition, a free football youth camp is planned in July, and a charity game is in the works for Labor Day weekend.

Ticket prices will be $5 for ages 16 and up. Those 15 and younger will get into games free. Season tickets are available at a discounted price.

The team was founded as the Eastlake Vikings in 2006 by brothers John and George Callahan. Their record was 1-9 last year, but Zapp is optimistic the team will finish with more wins this year.

"Head coach Phil Catania has bolstered his coaching staff heading into the 2008 season. This, partnered with the continued dedication by the players, brings very high expectations for the Vikings in '08," Zapp said.
The team garnered some publicity last year when Dayton native Bobby Martin played for the team.

Martin's claim to fame was making international headlines in 2005 after a high school referee tried to disqualify him from play for not wearing shoes. Martin, who is no longer with the Vikings, was born without legs.

For more information, contact Tom Zapp at northcoastvikings@gmail.com or (440) 622-5184, or visit www.northcoastvikings.com. To reach Holly Brannan, send inquiries to northcoastvikingscheerleading@yahoo.com.

Labels: , ,