Super bowl 51 marks the end of the NFL season, but for the newest semi-pro football team in Ventura County, the 805 Bears, a new season is underway. On Feb. 25 when they will be hosting Yuca Valley’s Hi Desert Vipers.
The 805 Bears are the only spring season semi-pro football team in the area. They are comprised of 45 men and the coaching staff. Player’s ages ranging from 18 to 40+, the majority in their 20s and early 30s. The new team was created out of the Ventura’s Police Activities League team – the Ventura Hogs. When the Hogs’ final season ended in 2014, players missing the action started a team of their own.
“We’ve have a great mix of members this season. We’re excited to get out there and represent Ventura County,” says Michael Reardon, team owner and player. “We invite those interested to join an organization that’s fun, challenging and gives back to our community.”
Leading the team on and off the field will be Dr. Ron Atanay, who at 63 years old is the team’s head coach and running back. He is considered Pac-West Football League’s oldest active player. Dr. Atanay, a reputable dentist in the community, lost his brother a few years back and vowed to get healthy in his memory, choosing football as the sport of preference. Dr. Atanay has been heavily involved in the sports community with over 40 years of youth, high school and semi-pro football coaching.
“We are looking to partner with youth football programs in the area,” Reardon added, “After our season, we’re going to host our first 7v7 competition, where the money raised will go to a local youth team.”
The 805 Bears’ goal is to grow sponsorships to cover costs. They are accepting new players, 18 years of age and over, until March 4th. The games will be played at Pacific High at 501 College Dr., Ventura. For more information, visit 805bearsfootball.com.