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By Larry Blustein

Larry BlockSFHSSports: Twitter | Facebook

The New York Yankees, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Lakers and Notre Dame University.

What do they have in common?

They are franchises that are rich in tradition and widely admired. But they are also always in the crosshairs of opposing teams that want to beat them in the worst way.

Welcome to the world of the South Florida Express 7-on-7 offseason football team.

Started over a decade ago by South Florida businessman Brett Goetz, who has always had a passion for football – dating back to his high school days at Miami Beach and going on to college at the University of Florida.

What Goetz has always been, is someone who wanted a way to keep athletes busy in the offseason. Those who were really concentrating on a career in football.

Because he’s always associated himself with the top people in the industry, Goetz has been able to gain credibility with everyone from Al Golden and Urban Meyer to just about every college and high school coach around.

Last weekend, Goetz and the Express held its 10th 7-on-7 tryout and showcase at Betty T. Ferguson Park in fabled football Miami Gardens.

The list of players that were a part of the Express, from the beginning, reads like an all-star team from Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

From current NFL standouts such as Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings), Duke Johnson and Tracy Howard (Browns), Ryan Shazier and Eli Rogers (Steelers) and Amari Cooper (Raiders) to Geno Smith (Jets).

As well as those in college and on the way to the next level, led by Florida’s Quincy Wilson, who announced this week he is making himself eligible for the NFL Draft.

In addition to Wilson, college standouts include Keith Brown (Louisville), Maurice Alexander (FIU), Sean White (Auburn), Tyler Huntley (Utah), Dontye Carriere-Williams and Sojourn Shelton (Wisconsin), Demar Simpkins (Utah), Ocie Rose (FAU), Chris Lammons (South Carolina), Anthony Calloway (Florida), Eric Walker (Lindenwood) and Keyshawn “Pie” Young, who just finished his freshman season for the Rose Bowl-champion USC Trojans.

“When we started this, it was all about keeping our local football players who were committed to the sport, year round,” Goetz said. “Over the course of a couple of years of us doing this and traveling around, other teams were formed in this area – and then throughout the country.”

While 7-on-7 team events have been held for years and years – also with Florida (USF) roots – the concept of an “AAU” style format for football, gained momentum when the big money athletic brands began to take hold.

The athletes of today – who are in high school – can barely remember when this all started. And while other programs have done well, winning national championships. Goetz and the South Florida Express will always be the name that is used as being the standard and pioneer for a craze that has become financially rewarding and quite popular.

With a great support system, his business savvy and the many people he knows from his business and social life, Goetz has been fortunate that he is still at the forefront in this industry – one that comes with great rewards for all teams and all players involved.

“No matter who is playing for what team, the one thing is possible more now than ever before, is all the players who get exposure,” Goetz pointed out. “No matter what team from our area is playing, you can guarantee that national, regional and local writers and talent evaluators will be getting the word out to the coaches – and in the end – that’s what this is all about.”

There is no doubt that this is an area of the country that can host a tryout on a weekend on early January and get over 200 tremendous football players to attend.

While we promote every athlete in this region – no matter if they have 5 stars or none at all – according to the fan websites – we saw some local talent that continues to put in the work:

2018 – Joshua Alexander, WR, Plantation American Heritage
2018 – Marvin Alexander, WR, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna
2019 – Christopher Alexandre, DB, Hollywood McArthur
2019 – Alejandro Andino, WR, Weston Cypress Bay
2018 – Tutu Atwell, QB, Miami Northwestern
2018 – Kevin Austin, Jr., WR, Coconut Creek North Broward Prep
2019 – Jordan Battle, DB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
2018 – Malik Beckford, QB/WR, Coral Springs Taravella
2020 – Thain Jones-Bell, WR, Hallandale
2018 – Nigel Bethel, Jr., DB, Miami Northwestern
2018 – Chai Bland, WR, Miami Central
2019 – Sam Brooks, LB, Miami Northwestern
2018 – George Bubrick, QB, Fort Lauderdale University School
2018 – Mark Carter, DB, Miami Carol City
2019 – Curt Casteel, QB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
2018 – Brett Elpert, LB, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest
2018 – Beau Fillichio, QB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
2018 – Bailey Finkelberg, DB, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest
2018 – Gregory Grate, WR, Miami Carol City
2018 – Calvin Hart, Jr., LB, Plantation American Heritage
2018 – Victor Harvey, DB, Coconut Creek
2018 – Terrance Horne, Jr., WR,
2018 – Adbul Ibrahim, WR, Miramar
2019 – Deon Jones, QB, Hollywood McArthur
2018 – Tavares Kelly, Jr., WR, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
2019 – Marcus LaFrance, DB, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson
2018 – Tavares Laidler, LB, Miramar
2018 – Dyllon Lester, DB, Pembroke Pnes Flanagan
2018 – Bernard Marshall, WR, Miami High
2018 – Kyle McGregor, Athlete, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan
2018 – Wendell Morris, QB, North Miami Beach
2018 – Kewan Parker, LB, Miami Carol City
2018 – Wayne Parrish, WR/DB, Coral Springs Taravella
2020 – Xavier Restrepo, WR/DB, Coconut Creek Monarch
2018 – Carlos Sandy, WR, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
2019 – Nik Scalzo, QB, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
2018 – Marlon Serbin, QB, Weston Cypress Bay
2018 – Cam Smith, QB, Plantation American Heritage
2018 – Jesse Smith, LB, Hollywood McArthur
2018 – Harrison Story, QB, Davie Western
2019 – Nicholas Torres, WR, South Plantation
2018 – Dominick Watt, WR. Hollywood McArthur
2018 – Divaad Wilson, Athlete, Miami Northwestern
2020 – Derek Wingo, QB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
2019 – Nayquan Wright, RB, Miami Carol City


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