The Florida Champion Football League is a 19-team league that features some of the top developmental football in the region, and the South Dade Immortals are no exception to that.
Currently ranked No. 6 in the league, owner Nikkolas Bocanegra feels great about where the organization is and the role the Immortals play in the community.
The team has made significant improvements in the past year, and it shows.
“Head coach Willie Cooper and General Manager Ivan Patterson have done a tremendous job in solidifying the roster going into 2019,” Bocanegra told Developmental Football USA. “All areas of weakness have not only been added to with more talent but also depth, which is essential in this brand of football.”
The Immortals made on-field improvements, but they’ve also invested off the field. They are members of the South Dade Chambers of Commerce, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and they are even hosting the board of the SDCC as honorary captains for the team’s first home game. That’s not even mentioning fresh new Nike uniforms.
“They got to experience the energy these young men bring as well as our fan base. Things likes that really build the proper support. You have to see it to believe it,” the owner said.
“Our slogan is ‘We Are South Dade’. This concept embraces the unity of all the communities that create South Dade and [gives them] something they can all take pride in and a reason to come together. We feel the South Dade Immortals can become this football team all communities want to be a part of.”
Bocanegra mentioned that the Immortals are also looking to be very involved in the local high school community. They will dedicate one home game to a high school and recognize the current and former players, as well as make a donation to that program.
“We know the importance and feel it’s vital to do something like this…to give back,” he said.
Sitting at 1-2 on the FCFL season, the Immortals are looking to capitalize off a dominant 48-0 win over the Miami saints. They lost the first two games of the season in close fashion, in games that Bocanegra said “slipped through their fingers” and came down to only a series of two — which always tends to be the case at any level of
football. The 48-0 win appears to be a big boost for the team and it does stand to reason that South Dade is primed for a big run heading into this weekend’s game against the Palm Beach Cowboys, though.
“We aren’t playing at our full potential but we felt this past weekend was the breakthrough game, and if we continue to play like that nobody will beat us,” Bocanegra said. “We are our biggest competition so with that being said, I would expect a long string of wins.”
That will be easier said than done for South Dade, because Bocanegra himself admitted that the FCFL has created a stacked dance card in its second season. The league, run by President Debarris James, VP Tim Miller and Commissioner Jon Wasielewski, has gone from five teams to 19 in its second season, and at this juncture it’s hard to pick a clear-cut favorite.
The FCFL North features teams like the 3-0 Florida War Eagles, 2-0-1 Orlando Phantoms and the 2-0-1 Space Coast Tar Heels. In the FCFL South you can find the 3-0 Pompano Beach Outlaws and, of course, the Immortals among other good teams.
“By no means will anyone be a push over to get to the championship and the fact we play nine out of 10 different teams on our schedule is exciting,” Bocanegra explained.
At the end of the day, developmental football is as much about the play on the field as it is the community, and it’s very clear that the heart beat of the South Date Immortals is the community surrounding the area. The players play with pride for where they come from, and it’s starting to rub off.
“They play with emotion, raw emotion, they don’t scare. They have embodied what it is to be an Immortal,” Bocanegra said of his team. “It’s becoming a household name in our city.”
“Semi-pro has been an uphill battle, but I finally feel we are breaking the barrier and gaining the respect and recognition from our community,” he went on to say.
“I will always fight for the young men that are a part of this program. There is a bigger picture, and I’m just grateful my voice is being heard and our product and this team is being recognized. The difference maker is everyone is starting to believe and these players are giving themselves more value and take pride in being an Immortal.”