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F-M semi-pro football team set for fall debut

FARGO – The last time Fargo-Moorhead had a semi-professional football team, it had an abrupt end.

The team folded just days before its second season started, and owed tens of thousands of dollars to a number of local entities.

James Kern said this time will be different.

Kern is bringing semi-pro football back to Fargo-Moorhead this upcoming August and September.

“I’ve owned a team for five years, I’ve owned a league,” Kern said. “I got that credibility.”

The new team is set to be part of the United National Football League.

The team will be an extension of the Brainerd (Minn.) Lumberjacks, who are in the Midwest Premier Football League and play in the spring.

The Bemidji (Minn.) team has just started its fifth season under Kern, and has won two league titles.

“We are bringing that same mentality here,” Kern said.

Kern said the F-M team has more than 40 players at this point for a season that is slated to start on Aug. 10. Kern said the team is still looking to add players. The offensive line and quarterback are positions of need.

The Fargo-Moorhead team is slated to have four other teams in its division and will play a 10-game schedule.

“If we do things the right way, we’re going to build it,” Kern said.

Kern said most of the players on the team will range in age from 22 to 30 years old.

“We don’t want guys that are playing in college,” Kern said. “We want guys that are done with college.”

Athletes who play in the league, however, would maintain their college eligibility.

Players have to be at least 18 years old and are responsible for their own health insurance. Players don’t get paid and have to buy their own equipment.

Kern thinks the F-M area is a solid place to field a semi-pro team because of the number of area college football teams.

“I bet you would be hard-pressed to find a better area to start a team,” he said.

Kern said the F-M team is going to try to play most of its home games in August so it doesn’t play on the same weekends as the F-M area college teams.

“We’re not trying to compete,” Kern said. “We’re just trying to give people more football.”

Kern said the reason he’s involved with semi-pro football is simple.

“I love football,” said Kern, who also played college and semi-pro football. “I like helping guys.”

Article written by Eric Peterson of the Forum News Service

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