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Semchenko and Kelly Named UIF Men of the Year
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July 25, 2006 - Omaha, NE -The United Indoor Football (UIF) Association is proud to announce the 2006 Man of the Year Award. Sioux Falls Storm offensive lineman, John Semchenko, and Lexington Horsemen cornerback, Anthony “Champ” Kelly, have been named co-Men of the Year for the 2006 UIF season. The Man of the Year award was created to honor the players in the UIF that represent themselves with character, great attitude, passion for the indoor game and help in the community in their free time. Each team nominated one player from their team and the winners were chosen by the league office.

John Semchenko is in his sixth season with the Sioux Falls Storm as the starting center on the offensive line. His character is beyond reproach and he represents the Storm Organization in the utmost fashion. John is a leader on and off the field and he leads by example. He is a strong role model for the numerous young fans of the Storm, as he makes a point to talk with them after games and in the community. His actions speak volumes for his character. John volunteers his time as a mentor at Terry Redlin Elementary school in Sioux Falls. He meets with a young child once a week and encourages the student to work hard in school. Many times, this may be a student who lacks motivation and a stable adult influence in his/her life.

John also volunteers his time at Lutheran Social Services, acting as a “big brother” to underprivileged children in Sioux Falls. His time spent with these children consists of taking them on outings and spending quality time with kids who may not have that in their lives. John has also brought some of these kids to Storm games and given them an opportunity to meet other players.

Teaching kids is something John enjoys. While he has put his teaching career on hold, John still loves to work with children. To accomplish this, John helps out at several area sports camps during the summer. One such camp was the Sport Reach camp. This camp was designed to provide training for young athletes in various sports, as well as challenging them mentally and spiritually. It was an opportunity to show a connection to children that athletics consists of more than skills.

He is active in his church and volunteers his time to make appearances for the Storm. John is always willing to meet with fans and participate in the many community service projects involving the Storm Organization. However, it is important to note that John would be involved in local projects even if he were not a Storm player. That speaks for who he is and the type of character he possesses.

Finally, John epitomizes the word “class.” He is an individual who has a great attitude, is humble and has respect for his teammates, coaches, organization, fans and community. In his six years as a member of the Storm, John has helped many teammates in various fashions. He never asks for anything in return and helps create a “family” type environment. John recognizes fans and their importance to success. In fact, after the last home game of this season, John encouraged his teammates to stay on the field and acknowledge the fans through handshakes, photos, and autographs.

Champ Kelly has also been honored as a Man of the Year for 2006 UIF season. Champ is in his fourth season with the Horsemen and has been the face of the organization ever since he became a part of the team. Champ exemplifies the 2006 UIF Man of the Year Award in every category. Kelly is a fan favorite not only in Lexington, but all cities he visits. While on the field, Kelly is the defensive captain and is know for making plays and congratulating others that make their own. Off the field, Champ is first in line to volunteer for many activities and appearances including Kids Night at Golden Corral, hours of public speaking engagements and also takes time to visit schools and summer camps to let children know the importance of education. He also has conducted his own football camps to help children reach their fullest potential on the field.

Champ plays solely for the competition and the love of the game and has been one of the better safeties in the league during his tenure. Kelly also is actively involved in his church, including offering his services as a high school football coach at Lexington Christian Academy, which he has done for the last 5 seasons. These types of awards are nothing new to Champ. He was awarded the 2002 SEC Good Works Scholarship for post graduates for his services while attending the University of Kentucky, both during his playing days and while finishing his master’s degree in business. Many people in the Horsemen organization do their share for the franchise and the UIF but Champ goes beyond the call of duty.

Just recently, Kelly and a few other Horsemen players visited a local high school in Lexington to hand out vouchers for their last home game and sign some autographs in the process. While at the school’s mini-football camp, one of the coaches asked if any of the Horsemen would give the kids a pep talk and encouragement speech. Champ stepped up without preparing at all. He spoke of his trials and tribulations as a child growing up and how he worked hard to get to where he’s at now. As a child, Kelly was in a major car accident that nearly took his life and doctors told him that he would never be able to play a contact sport. Now he’s a professional football player.

Several of his Horsemen teammates were just in awe of his speech as the children were and could not believe how he got their attention. This is nothing new to Kelly however; he made a life promise to help kids grow and encourage them after his accident several years ago. He does public speeches on a regular basis.

Both Semchenko and Kelly made the UIF First Team All-Star roster and they will battle each other on Saturday, July 29 at 7:05 pm in the Sioux Falls Arena for the United Bowl II championship.

Honorable mention for Man of the Year go to the Bloomington Extreme’s, Winston Taylor, and Sioux City Bandit, Johnnie Ostermeyer. Both Taylor and Ostermeyer are leaders on and off the field for their respective teams and put in several hours of community service helping children and fans in the community.

Nominations for all teams were:

Bloomington Extreme: Winston Taylor (Honorable Mention)
Evansville BlueCats: Demoine Adams
Ft. Wayne Freedom: Scott Heighland
Lexington Horsemen: Champ Kelly (2006 Co-Man of the Year)
Ohio Valley Greyhounds: Willie Austin
Omaha Beef: Micah Arnold
Peoria Rough Riders: Adell Hawks
Rock River Raptors: Billy Cook
Sioux City Bandits: Johnnie Ostermeyer (Honorable Mention)
Sioux Falls Storm: John Semchenko (2006 Co-Man of the Year)

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