Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become. ~Mary McGrory . . . Get ready for United Indoor Football action coming March 24.

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Team directors, operators, coaches and staff meet this week in Bloomington, Illinois to prep for UIF's second season.

December 22, 2005 - Bloomington Extreme Head Coach Ted Schmitz announces five more players to sign with the team. One of which made it through late tryouts with the New York Jets, and others played for Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State University.

Defensive line Eric Johnson played at University of Pittsburg and transferred to play at Illinois State University. Following college he tried out for the New York Jets and was cut in one of the later rounds. He then went to play for Edmonton in the Canadian Football League, the Xtreme in the XFL and recently for the Peoria Pirates, while an af2 franchise. Johnson works for State Farm in Chicago and will be commuting to Bloomington for practice and games.

Former Illinois Wesleyan player, Craig Kastning helped his team win two back-to-back CCIW Championships in 2000 and 2001 and ranks fifth in the CCIW for the longest punt with 66 yards in 1999 against Carthage. After college he played for the Bergamo Lions in Italy in 2003 where they won the Italian League Championship.

Kastning earned team MVP (Knight of the Year) when playing for Lappeenratna Rajaritarit in Finland in 2004 as well as voted Co-Most Valuable Import. He ranks in the top 2 or 3 in the following categories in the league; receptions and receiving yards, scoring, kick off return yardage, total yards and total yards per game, interceptions, forced fumbles, and passes defended.

Not only does Kastning play, he also coaches. In 2002 he coached the Normal Community High School freshmen, the following year he coached Woodstock High School Varsity, then Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts and last season at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Joining Kastning on the Extreme is former teammate wide receiver Shawn Emerson. Emerson attended Illinois Wesleyan University from 1997-2000, being named Freshman of the Year, First Team All Conference for 2 years, Co-Captain, Pre-Season All American and Offensive Most Valuable Player. He continued playing football for the Twin City Storm in Bloomington and was named All-Conference.

Currently attending Illinois State University, Ahmed Braimah will be a defensive back for the Bloomington Extreme. Braimah played with Twin City Storm and then moved up to the Peoria Steel, an All-Star team for the region.

Senior Quarterback at Illinois Wesleyan, Thomas Kudyba also signs with Bloomington Extreme. Kudyba ranks among the top Wesleyan players in passing yards (2005 season - 161 yards, Career 2002-2005 with 3093 yards), pass completions (ranks 5th in season with 159 completions in 2005 and 6th in his career with 299 completions), passing percentage (ranks 4th in career with .547) and passing touchdowns (ranked 10th in career with 29). He was awarded Team Offensive MVP in 2005, MVP of International Game against top French Team in 2005, CCIW Offensive Player of the Week (10/22/05), Best Skill Award in 2005, and Most Improved Player Award in 2004.

Schmitz commented "This group of players are familiar with the community, most of them having played here in town and they offer a great deal of talent to the Extreme." The coaching staff is continuing to travel through the state, recruiting players. "We're about half way through the recruiting process," said Schmitz. They plan to have a training camp in March to cut the roster down to 25 active players.

The U.S. Cellular Coliseum, a Central Illinois Arena Management facility, proudly serves the central Illinois area presenting major sporting events, concerts, family shows and seasonal attractions. This popular entertainment and sporting venue contributes significantly to the economic impact on the Bloomington area. For the most up-to-date event information, please check us out on the web at

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