Amidst the frantic signings and other formalizations that occur during the offseason, the Jacksonville Sharks are making final preparations both on and off the field as the 2014 season approaches.
Although Jacksonville has been active on the free agent market, the Sharks have scheduled an open tryout for February 15. This year’s tryout will take place at the Orange Park Athletic Association Field, located at 1086 Fromhart Street in Orange Park.
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m., and the workout is set to start promptly at 9:00. The tryout will conclude once each player has been properly evaluated by head coach Les Moss and the Sharks coaching staff.
Those wishing to participate in the tryout must complete the 2014 Tryout Packet, which is available online at the team website. On the day of the tryout, players are asked to bring the completed packet along with a payment of $80. Payment can be made with cash, a credit card or money order. Checks will not be accepted.
Players wishing to try out also have the option of pre-paying online through the form on the Sharks' official Facebook page. Those who complete their payment online will receive a $10 discount.
This year’s tryout will consist of a combination of drills, including the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle and various position-specific drills. Please note that this year’s tryout will take place on a natural grass surface, and players are required to bring appropriate footwear.
The tryout is open to anyone over the age of 18 who has completed high school and is not currently under contract with any professional football team. Kickers will not be evaluated at this year’s tryout.
Players traveling to the tryout from outside the Jacksonville area may obtain a discount rate of $49 for a one-night stay at the Astoria Hotel in Orange Park. The hotel is located at 150 Park Avenue, approximately four miles from the tryout location. The rate may be obtained by calling the hotel at (904) 458-4299 and mentioning the Sharks tryout.
For more information and to download the 2014 Tryout Packet, visit http://www.jaxsharks.com/team/tryouts.
In other news, the Sharks have officially announced their Theme Nights and promotions for the 2014 season. After reviewing fan submissions and evaluating past successes, Jacksonville has ensured that fans who come to Sea Best Field at Veterans Memorial Arena will have the ultimate experience and will be able to participate each and every game. Jacksonville will also tie in a series of Appreciation Nights and other initiatives to give back to the community.
Jacksonville kicks off their 2014 home schedule begins on March 29 against the San Antonio Talons, where they pay tribute to one of the longest-running, most popular television shows of all time, Saturday Night Live. On SNL Night, come dressed as your favorite character as we’ll cover the decades from Chevy Chase and Dan Akroyd to Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg.
On April 11, the Tampa Bay Storm come to town, and that means Pirate Night. As the winner of a November fan vote, Pirate Night is the chance to break out your eye patch and honor your favorite swashbuckler.
April 26 sees the expansion Portland Thunder come to the Shark Tank. That will see a night that humbly began as a billboard paid for by the Orlando Predators, and has since taken on a life of its own – Redneck Night. It’s all in good fun, come dressed in a camo hat and cutoff shorts, but chewing tobacco is not included.
May 3 will see another new night, as the two-time defending ArenaBowl champion Arizona Rattlers come to town for Grease Night. Black leather jackets are back in style, and whether you prefer the original musical or the film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, there will be something for all fans of this all-time classic.
May 17 will be the fourth annual Military Appreciation Night, as the Sharks take on the Orlando Predators. As a military town, Jacksonville will honor the sacrifices made by those who serve and have served in our nation’s Armed Forces. The Sharks will once again use this night as a platform to generate donations to a military-related organization.
The Sharks’ June 7 game against the Spokane Shock marks the culmination of this year’s edition of Chum’s Reading Initiative, as elementary school students throughout the greater Jacksonville area will have earned a ticket to the game by meeting each of their three quarterly reading goals during the school year. To go along with Education Appreciation Night, it will also be Heroes & Villains Night. We hope to see you come dressed as your favorite superhero…or supervillain! Hopefully the Jokers won’t be too serious, and Bane will behave himself...
On June 28, the Sharks take on the Pittsburgh Power for this year’s edition of what has quickly become one of the most popular theme nights of the season – Halloween in June! Plenty of spooky surprises will be ready and waiting, and The Dungeons Haunted Attractions are already working on ways to make this year’s event bigger and better. (My personal advice, the cheerleaders’ uniforms are worth it, and yes, I went there.)
The penultimate home game of the season will see Sharks host the New Orleans VooDoo. It’ll officially be July 12, 2014, but Jacksonville will send fans back to the famous summer of ‘69. You may remember bits and pieces of it, your friends or family may have told you about it, or you may have seen a special on TV or elsewhere. Either way, you’ve probably heard stories from Woodstock. That night, Jacksonville will pay tribute to that legendary festival with SharkStock, their take on 3 Hours of Peace & Music.
Finally, the 2014 regular season wraps up on July 26 as the Los Angeles KISS make their first appearance on Sea Best Field. It’ll be Christmas in July, as well as Fan Appreciation Night, the traditional home finale. Get ready to win as the Sharks will have their biggest and most plentiful giveaways to finish off Jacksonville’s fifth Arena Football League season.
For more on the Jacksonville Sharks, including the latest news, updates, and transactions, log on to www.jaxsharks.com. For more on the rest of the Arena Football League, log on to www.arenafootball.com and www.arenafan.com.