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Football Player Eased Commute by Buying Team

Talk about a football fanatic.

Jeff Sechler, 31, wanted to play football near his San Clemente home so bad he bought his own semipro football team. He named it the South Coast Sharks.

“I didn’t get the team to be a big shot,” said the San Clemente businessman. “I got the team so I didn’t have to drive to Stanton from San Clemente.

The team practiced in Stanton and played its games at Buena Park High School. Now Sechler is holding practice sessions at San Gorgonio Park in San Clemente.

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“I just couldn’t handle the drive any more,” he said. “I know people think I’m nuts.”

Just looking at his work schedule, they may be right.

Besides forming the team, Sechler owns and runs a clothing store called Mofo and a wholesale jewelry and clothing import business, both in San Clemente. And, four nights a week, he works as a supermarket checker.

“I really have to juggle my time,” the former Orange Coast College defensive back said in a clear understatement.

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For the last five seasons the Sunny Hills High School graduate has played defensive back for the Orange County Cowboys, another of the 11 teams in the Southern California High Desert League.

Last year Sechler was named to the all-league squad and was named Best Defensive Back. He has an impressive 24 career interceptions.

He doesn’t feel his heavy work schedule and new administrative chores as team owner will bother him on the field.

Sechler said he is sure he will make the all-league squad again this year.

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“I just love the game and I love playing a lot,” said the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder. “I’m not looking for anything more than that.”

Sechler feels he just isn’t big enough to make the pros, “but there are guys in this league who can make it.”

His new team roster counts 37 players, many of them Marines.

“I’m still looking for more players,” said Sechler, whose team will play an away game Sunday to start the season. He said prospective players can reach him by phoning his clothing store.

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Besides his infatuation with the game, “I love hitting with my pads on,” he said. “It’s hard to explain what it feels like running up and slamming into people on the field. I’m not out there getting my body pounded for nothing.”

All football is a matter of emotion, desire and heart, he contends. “I still have all three and the more heart you have the more you can do,” he said. “I have a lot of heart to give.”

The one-time Newport Beach resident said he is sure the day will come when he will just coach, “but now I can still play even though my old injuries pay me visits.”

He will be tested in the team’s first game against the Orange County Cowboys, his old team.

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“We play the toughest of the teams the first five games and that should show us what we have,” he said.

What he doesn’t have is a field to play his home games.

“We’re still looking for one and we may have to play some of our home games at the opponent’s field if we don’t come up with one of our own,” he said.

Despite the pressure of starting a new team, Sechler looks forward to the season start.

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“I know I’m going to have a good time,” he vowed. “Maybe after the first game I’ll go to a pizza parlor and drink some beer.”


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