Playing Football

Twin Cities Player Success Stories

Twin Cities is passionate about teaching lifelong football skills to youth in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.  This page is dedicated to celebrating the successes of our current and former athletes.   

Twin Cities is proud to share these success stories as they speak to the high quality of the Warhawks and Predator programs.

Romy Simpson: Doing what it takes to reach the next level.

          

Since the age of 12 Romy Simpson has been playing football for Twin Cities, and season after season he’s been doing what it takes to reach the next level.  In 2015 Romy experienced many successes on the field due to his hard work and dedication; he earned a roster position on Team Ontario, was awarded the GHR All-Star Game MVP and received a Top Prospect Combine Invite. 

Currently, Romy is a driving force on the Varsity Predator field and he also plays in the International Developmental Fast Football League (IDFFL) which is a league designed to teach, mentor and prepare young athletes via a curriculum based football skills development program.

When asked about his Team Ontario experience, where he travelled to Arlington, TX and competed against Team USA, Romy said “playing for Team Ontario is by far one of the best football experiences I’ve had.”  He went on to explain that this experience was reflective of what university football will be like.  “Playing against guys that might one day be in the NFL is kind of crazy.  I loved every second of it and also the challenge.” 

Reflecting on his past Predator seasons, Romy’s most memorable was his first year as a Predator.  “In my first year playing Predators I met a lot of the friends I still have today.”  With a tough season ahead, Romy’s game plan is to continue developing his skills and work at getting better with every play.  Adam Ziegler, Head Coach of the Varsity Predators, recognizes the talent that Romy brings to the team, “Romy is an excellent player and we are looking forward to his contribution on and off the field this season.”

As a fierce competitor with remarkable athleticism, Romy can run a 40 yard dash in an impressive 4.6 seconds.  Having set his football goals high, he won’t stop until he gets there.  However, Romy knows that making the grade in school is half the battle of reaching his goal.  “Balancing academics and sports was really hard for me until I started to use my time wisely, so I’ll often be in the library at lunch or on my laptop doing homework that needs to be done or studying plays for football.”

When asked who has been his inspiration over the years, Romy gave a shout-out to his friends and family as well as Coach Courtney who has been there for him since the first day they met, “Coach Courtney is always looking out for me and keeps me focused.” And when asked which NFL player inspires him the most, Romy answered Calvin “Megatron” Johnson.  “I say this because as a receiver he’s who you want to be, the way he plays is just amazing.  He has that swagger on the field that I want, but for right now I’m just Romy, that fast guy.”

 

Riley VanDeHogen: A Predator Force to be reckoned with.

Riley VanDeHogen, who stands 6’7 and weighs 340 lbs at the age of 17, is a Predator Force to be reckoned with.  In 2015, Riley began his first season of rep football with the Twin City Predators.  Later the same year he earned himself a spot on the roster for both the Ontario Prospect Challenge (OPC) Team and Team Ontario.  Riley is currently back on the field training hard with the Predators and the OPC Team that will play at the home of the Tiger Cats on April 29th. 

When asked how it felt to make Team Ontario Riley explained “My life changed in that moment as I was realized that I was not just playing for my rep team, the Predators, but rather representing the Province.”  As part of Team Ontario, Riley had the opportunity to travel to Arlington, Texas to play football at the AT & T Stadium.  “It felt amazing to walk out onto the stadium field and experience what an NFL player experiences.  Although the outcome was not what we wanted, the experience was a success to me and knowing that I made it through the difficult tryouts to be part of the team made me a winner.” 

As a high school student with a busy football career on the go, Riley was asked how he balances academics and football.  “It’s not an easy task, but I ensure that my education is done first and foremost.  I realize and have been taught that organization is the key to success and that without an education football is nothing, as I am only one injury away from retirement.” 

With the genetic gift that Riley has embraced and with the knowledge that athletics and academics go hand in hand, his future successes require excellence in both arenas.  When asked what his long term goals are, Riley explained that his plan A is to play for a NCAA team or a Canadian university with the intent to make an NFL or CFL team while pursuing a masters in psychology.  “I realize that the results of both are in how I execute these plans, hopefully resulting in my success academically as well as athletically,” said Riley.  With several university scouts from across Canada already knocking on his door, Riley is soon to see this goal a reality.  “My options for university remain open and I will only commit in January 2017.  I am anxious and looking forward to an amazing 2016 with my football life and my academic life too.”

When asked who has been his greatest inspiration these past few years Riley stated that his initial inspiration regarding his football success are Coach Shane Verbiski and Coach Pat Crabbe of the St. David’s Celtic Football team.  “They taught me to believe in myself, and enjoy the experiences and not just focus on wins, but to truly enjoy the game and enjoy the team and family.”  Riley’s inspiration has also been his parents who support him without reservation and facilitate every opportunity that is available to him.  “My parents have always taught me to aim for the best and never look for “good enough” outcomes.” 

The 2016 Predator season will see Riley in his rookie Varsity year.  Adam Ziegler, Head Coach for the Varsity Predators, is very excited to have Riley on his team and looks forward to watching Riley set the bar high for all players.  “Riley helped me coach the Predator Select team that went to Cleveland last year.  I found Riley to not only be very coachable but a man of integrity, commitment and dedication,” said Coach Ziegler who went on to say “I know my coaching staff and I are getting a Mountain of a Man in Riley and we are excited to have him as part of our Preds Family.”

Riley looks forward to joining the Varsity team this upcoming season.  “My intent is to hit the field with my new experiences and skills that I have acquired from Team Ontario as well as the OPC and university camps, to make this a successful season and form new relationships with my Varsity brothers.  Go PREDS Go!”

 

Tavian Shand: "the Face of the Predators"

Tavian Shand began his football career in grade 4, and nine seasons later he has become one of the most successful athletes to play football for Twin Cities.  In 2014, Tavian was awarded the AllStar Game Team MVP.  In Tavian’s rookie Varsity Predator year he added to his repertoire of awards by being named the team’s Offensive MVP.  In 2015, Tavian’s athletic abilities captured the attention of Team Ontario coaches and he soon earned himself a positon on the Team Ontario roster.

When asked what his most memorable Predator season had been, Tavian stated that it was his first year playing Predator football.  The team went 6 – 2 and made it to the semi-finals before losing to Chatham.  “We had a great coaching staff and a great bunch of guys that no longer saw themselves as individuals but a team.”  And when asked what it was like to play for Team Ontario, Tavian stated that “being given the opportunity to play for Team Ontario was great because you get to see a different side of the world or country that you may never otherwise have seen.”  Tavian went on to explain that this experience represents what university football will be like.  “We had meetings every day and we would practice every day for 2 to 3 hours at a time.  It was a great experience to be able to be out there learning from some of the best coaches in Ontario and being able to get to show your talents to whomever may be watching.”

As the 2016 Predator Season begins, Coach Adam Ziegler and his team look forward to hitting the field and winning the OFC Championship.  Coach Ziegler holds Tavian and his family in very high regard.  “Tavian shocked the league in his rookie Varsity year,” said Coach Ziegler.  “Tavian is a team leader who has phenomenal play ability as a tailback and wildcat QB.  Tavian comes from a very respectable family and he has worked hard to earn respect from the coaching staff and his peers. Tavian is the face of the Predators.”

This season Tavian hopes to see the team’s best players on the field every play.  “I would like to see everyone competing for their spot, because this will bring the best guys out to shine during practice and games.”  Tavian, who has appreciation for his football family went on to say “I hope for our team to bond and form a brotherhood.”

 

Tyler Varga - former Warhawk makes the NFL!

  Read about Tyler here.

 

 

 

Former Twin Cities Predators reunite in the CFL!

 

Former Predator teammates Beau Landry and Mike Daly team up for the Hamilton Tiger Cats!
Read the full article here.

 

 

 

 

 

Football the key to success for Nicholson

His passion to prove himself and his love of the game meant getting his grades up so that he could attend, and play, for Wilfrid Laurier University.  

Read more about Tre and his success story here.