Prior to the opening of its fall training camp, the Poinciana High School football team got an opportunity to see how the professionals operate when they visited the Miami Dolphins training camp at Nova Southeastern University on July 25.
The idea of the trip was to provide the team both a football and educational experience.
In addition to visiting the Dolphins training camp, the team took quick tours of both St. Thomas University, Florida International and Florida Atlantic.
“It was a great experience for the players,” Poinciana Head Coach Randy Beeken said. “We wanted our kids to understand that the NFL players go through the same thing they did during preseason camp and practices. At the same time, a lot of our kids have never been on a college campus before. Any time you have an opportunity to open some eyes about possibilities after high school, it’s a worthwhile thing.”
The 39 players left Poinciana High School around 5 a.m. on July 31. They met the coaching staff at St. Thomas University, and then proceeded to the campus at Florida International and Florida Atlantic.
At the Dolphins training camp, the team received a tour of the training facility before being treated to “inside the ropes” access to the Miami practice.
It was a fantastic experience for our players,” Beeken said. “I can’t say enough about how the Dolphins treated our players and staff. We certainly were not expecting sideline access to the practice. Between practice and the tour, it was a great experience.”
Eagles Assistant Coach Jerry Trychta, a Dolphin season ticket holder, got the ball rolling on the trip with a phone call to the Dolphins; while offensive coordinator Todd Carpenter, who is also an insurance executive, paid for the cost of the chartered bus and other expenses.
Poinciana began practice for the 2019 season with other Osceola County teams on Monday, July 26. Beeken, who was named head coach in the off-season, but has served as an Poinciana assistant coach and Junior Varsity Head Coach for the last four years, hopes to turnaround a program that has little success over the last two decades.
The Eagles last winning season was in 2000, when they were 6-5. The team has won only 20 games since then, including just two wins last season.
“This school has struggled for a long time and we are committed to building a new attitude at Poinciana,” Beeken said. “Part of the problem has been the constant turnover in head coaches. It seems our players have had to learn a new system every year or every other year. We are trying to build some stability and consistency in our program and things like this trip to South Florida to visit college campuses and NFL training camp are part of that process.”
The Eagles open their 2019 season with an exhibition Kickoff Classic against Cypress Creek on Friday, Aug. 16 before its Aug. 23 opener against Lake Howell.