Indoor football: The Tarpons rely on the community

Posted on December 2, 2011



By: Daniel Pfaffenbach

A family has to drive a minimum of two hours from Fort Myers to get to the nearest professional football stadium. Starting March, Estero will be able to claim a professional football team in Germain Arena.

The Florida Tarpons are one of 16 teams in the Ultimate Indoor Football League. The league is starting its second season this March, but it will be the first season the Tarpons will take the field.

The team is coached by Michael Taylor who has owned four different arena football teams for the last eight years.

“I want this team to be southwest Florida’s team,” Taylor said.

Taylor co-owns the Tarpons in addition to coaching. He says that he can focus on both on and off field aspects of the team under the circumstances.

Off the field, the team focuses on community awareness and fundraising.

Taylor said, “The community has given so much to have our team become a reality, we need to give back what they gave us.”

The team has helped fundraise for breast cancer research in Naples, along with other various cancer awareness groups. They have even worked with local Rotary clubs.

Taylor also wants to help the community on the field.

Besides for achieving a championship, Taylor sees this as an opportunity for local football players to display their talent, in hopes of attracting NFL contracts.

“There’s a lot of local flavor on the team,” Taylor said. “I would like to get their names out there.”

Sammy Wallace is vice president of event programming at Germain Arena. He agrees that the team is helping local players. “This is a way to help our local guys that played in college to help extend their football careers,” he said.

Wallace also said this football team is helping the community in others ways.

Tarpons games will attract families to Germain Arena. This will not only support a local business, but it will increase community bonding. “This is a football area; with the Bucs and the Dolphins a few hours away, the community loves football,” said Wallace.

Taylor wants children to grow up with this football team. He wants families to feel this will be southwest Florida’s most reputable professional sports team.

“I grew up watching the Tampa Bay Bucs, and am a huge fan. I want the youths of this area to feel the same way about the Tarpons,” said Taylor.

Coach Taylor is expecting to see the stands full of families this first season. He wants the Tarpons to excel as a team, and would appreciate the support of the community. He says he can’t see the team succeeding without the community’s recognition.